As we sojourn through life, we periodically hit some rough spots in the path. For me, the most recent “life hiccup” happened this past February. My partner of six and a half years decided to end our relationship. I was devastated. His decision ultimately caused me to be, for all intents and purposes, homeless. I was for the first time in my life, totally on my own. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and crying a lot. I quickly came to the realization that I needed help.
During an appointment with my doctor- follow up on my high blood pressure and diabetes, I admitted to being somewhat depressed. My doctor had me take a test and low and behold, yes, I was suffering from depression. She prescribed Prozac for me. I soon realized that I probably should have been on it a long time ago, but that is a whole different story!
I have, for the past several years, been dealing with arthritis in my back and neck. On top of that I recently had shoulder surgery and have developed capsulitis in my right shoulder which has limited my range of motion. As if that isn’t enough, I was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I have been wending my way through the process of filing for disability due to my health issues. This process has been very slow and trying on one’s patience (been at it for almost two years) small wonder that I was depressed.
I have always had a good spiritual life. I turned to prayer, thanking God for my doctor and the invention of Prozac. I literally gave thanks to God for Prozac! I also prayed for guidance; asking God to show me the right path. I decided to put my life into God’s hands.
I remained living with my ex until June. It was not a very comfortable situation. I eventually found a place to move to. I rented a room in a small house on the lake. My roommate, someone who is the total opposite of me, became a good friend. The scenery at the lake was very calming- I really needed that. This situation lasted until early August. My roomie was getting custody of his grandson and needed the room. I needed to find a place to stay AGAIN! Once again I prayed for an answer. It came in the form of one of my parishioners. He offered to put me up for few days. During this time I apartment hunted, but no luck. With funds running low, I had few choices. I splurged and spent one night in a motel. While I was praying to God for an answer, a dear friend of mine called me and invited me to stay with her and her husband for a few days. After staying there for a few days, I was “on the street” again. Relief came in the form of another good friend with whom I had previously had a twelve year relationship. We had remained good friends since our break up some eight years earlier. This is now where my stability finds its home.
During all of this, my little parish is going through a transition to a different jurisdiction. I have received immense support from the new jurisdiction. I know that God led me and the parish to make this change in jurisdictions.
Think that all of that is too much at one time? Due to my arthritis, I have been out of work for the better part of two years. Unemployment ran out a while ago. I had been taking care of my ex’s father during this time. We had some outside help, as I would not have been able lift him if he fell. After the break up, I requested and received some compensation for my work. Those funds have been depleted. I am now on the path to re-enter the workforce on a part-time basis.
As I re-build my life, I am more aware of little tidbits of “advise” found in various places and sources. One place is a daily devotional that I receive in my e-mail. It is called Minute Meditations. One meditation in particular stands out for me. It is as follows:
Hear God’s Voice
“God speaks to us in many ways, some conventional and some unconventional. If we are truly seeking His will for our lives, it behooves us to make the effort to hear His voice. While it may require turning off the noise that surrounds us, the reward will be great. We will be able to know His will and experience His peace.”
-from Faith, Hope & Clarity
This meditation truly captures what I am trying to do in my “life-rebuilding” process. God does not give us more than we can handle even though it seems like too much. I am going through a difficult stage in my life. I cannot do it on my own. The stuff that I can’t handle I turn over to God. For it is through prayer that the answers are to be found.
I am reminded of a saying, “Physician, Heal thy Self”; in my case it is changed to, “Pastor, Comfort thy Self!!” To this end, I have put my life into the hands of God with the knowledge that I will not be led astray. I have been trying to keep some normalcy in the midst of the chaos. Not an easy task, but through the power of prayer and a dose of Prozac, my life chugs along and is fulfilling.
I am grateful for all of my friends who have been there and still are there for me. All of the help, both big and small, does not go unappreciated. I feel that God has blessed me with the gift of great friends. My prayer of thanksgiving goes something like this,
“Almighty God, I, your undeserving servant, thank you for your guidance and the gift of friends who truly care. I turn my life over to you to do with what you will. I humbly follow the path that you set before me. I know that I will overcome the obstacles that are thrown in my path. With you at my side, how can I fail? Thank you God for answered prayers, and thank you God for Prozac. In the name of your Son, Jesus I humbly pray. AMEN
As I, with God’s help, rebuild my life I am also grateful for my sense of humor. Even at the lowest times, I have managed to maintain it. I truly believe that even in the darkest times there is always something to laugh at or about. I know that God has a sense of humor; he made me, a dirty-minded, foul-mouthed old queen a priest and messenger of His Holy Word. I am far from a perfect example of a priest, but I fully trust in God’s judgment of and will for the what, where, when and how of my life. GOD IS GREAT!! Once again, thank-you GOD FOR PRAYER AND PROZAC!!
Rev. Fr. Andrew Smith grew up in Appleton. WI. He studied Theology, Philosophy and Sociology at Lakeland University in Sheboygan, WI and completed his theological studies at Holy Redeemer Seminary of the UICC. Fr. Andrew was ordained to the diaconate in December of 2010 and to the Order of Presbyters in May of 2011. He entered his novitiate in the Order of Preachers Old Catholic in August of 2016 and took his three- year vows in May 2017. Fr. Andrew is pastor of St Dominic Old Catholic Church in Oshkosh, WI. He enjoys cooking, reading, writing and is an avid history buff.