Thursday, November 11, 2004

Not that I am trying to be morbid, nor is this a cheap attempt to getting greetings, but as I celebrate my 40th birthday today I am struck by the fact that, statistically, I have most likely lived half of my life. It has given me a chance to look back over my life to see what I have accomplished. I first noticed that most of my first 40 years has been spent as a student -- first of psychology, and then theology. I certainly do not see this as a bad thing, for it has hopefully given me the tools to minister more effectively to God's people. I have also looked back at my career as a psychologist, wondering if I made a difference in my clients' lives. There are a few that I am confident have made significant life changes, for the better (mostly substance abusers), which I have had the priviledge to assist. Others however, I question if I really was able to help them.

Now I am a priest (6 months on November 15) and I pray that God will use me so that people will draw closer to Him. I hope that I will assist them in weeding out the vice in their life so that they can nurture virtue. I think I will be more aware of how I touch people's lives as a priest because I will be more stable in their lives. One advantage to being in a geographically compact diocese is that even if I am moved to the other side of the diocese I will only be about an hour from my first parish, St. James. In fact I still hear from people from the parishes where I ministered as a deacon. One of the things that I do here at St. James is once a month I go read a story to the pre-schoolers. I will probably still be at St. James when some of them make their First Holy Communion. I think it will be neat to officiate, years from now, at some of these children's weddings.

But being 40 also makes me look at the time ahead. While it will certainly be exciting, filled with new challenges as a priest, it will also be a time of feeling like I am getting older. That more of life (earthly that is) is behind me than infront of me. Already I am feeling the physical effects of aging; I am already starting to count the number of pills I have to take each day. Some of this is also a reaction to some news I received recently. I mentioned in a previous post that I have been having some problems with my thyroid, well my doctor told me last week that I have two tumors which they need to remove. He cannot tell if it is cancer or not until they are removed, and while he said the odds are that they are not cancerous, and that even if it is, thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer there is, it is still a bit scary to hear, "you might have cancer." I go in for the surgery on November 18, so I will probably not be posting on CRM for a while as I recover. Of course I am leaving it all in God's hands, but prayers are appreciated. Peace.

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