Jesus told us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
This is particularly powerful when you think of prayer with others. Of course, God is with us at all times, never leaving, always loving. But the image of Jesus being “in the midst of” us when we pray with others is, well, almost palpable. And it brings up another image, too: Jesus as friend.
Indeed, when we pray, whether with others or alone, we are not merely reciting words or tossing thoughts and desires, sins and praise, into the ether, the nebulous “beyond.” Rather, we are conversing with and listening to a dear friend, one who is “in our midst,” one who forgives, comforts, loves, and lifts up.
The next time you pray, think of Jesus as that friend who is right next to you, not far, always ready to respond.
What a difference that makes!
They are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office workers at a physician’s office matter, really, they do! And the better we can work with them, the easier our care can become.
From the first call to get the first appointment to the last minute on a holiday weekend when you need a prescription refill, a doctor’s receptionist, record keeper, or billing staff provide invaluable assistance. The best of them have become almost like friends to me! Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful dealing with front office staff:
Get to know the names of all (or at least most) of the front office staff in your doctor’s office. Call them by name, communicate on a human level.
Try to be mindful that the receptionist or staff member in charge of calling in refills might have a number of calls or requests ahead of yours. If it’s an emergency, communicate politely and firmly.
If you’re calling to get a first appointment, you might be told it’ll be weeks before there’s an opening. Schedule the first available appointment, then ask to be put on a waiting list (most offices have them), and call back periodically to see if a spot has freed up.
Make every attempt to keep calm when asking why you’ve had to wait so long, or why your chart wasn’t pulled. (I know, this can be difficult!) Mistakes and delays do happen. (But if they happen a lot, you might consider changing doctors.)
Some medical offices don’t allow this, but for some of my docs, I give some kind of holiday gift to show my appreciation for everyone who has helped me throughout the year. A basket of cookies, a poinsettia plant, or just a card are nice gestures – and a way to show that you are thankful that they care!
Blessings for the day,
When we’re busy or tense, stressed or preocuppied, we might ignore the simple ways that we can reconnect, even for a moment, with God’s creation and the miracle that is our bodies. We might take for granted that our hearts beat, our muscles stretch and contract, and our lungs provide us with the air we need to function. But if we drag ourselves away from the pressing tasks that devour our attention, if we allow a few moments of fresh, cleansing air, we can better relax, regroup, and be set to face the rest of our day, breathing a sigh of blessed relief when our work is done and we can truly relax.
Joy and peace,
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for Saint Anthony Messenger that coincided with the 50th anniversary of the death of American author and devout Catholic Flannery O’Connor. It was a very personal piece, especially because Flannery had died from lupus at a too-young age and I had discovered her through the book, “The Habit of Being,” which is a compilation of letters from her that speak wonderfully of her journey of faith, lupus, life, and writing.
I am reminded of my “visit” with Flannery by my experience reading another book, one that I haven’t finished, yet. This one is a work of fiction called “Lila,” and is by Marilynne Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “Gilead.” I haven’t read Gilead, but plan to; I understand it’s also set with many of the same characters as “Lila,” and I’m finding them to be wonderfully human and striving to live as best they can a Christlike walk. But, would I say that “Lila” is a “Christian” novel? Not exactly. Faith is central to the plot and the characters, and there are healthy and, at times, poignant discussions of Scripture, God’s love, forgiveness, heaven and hell. But the compelling thing is, there’s no preaching (although one of the central characters is a preacher!).
I’m always delighted when I pick up a book and discover that the author includes faith and God within the story. I didn’t know anything about Marilynne Robinson or her work before giving “Lila” a try. I’m very glad I did!
Joy and peace,