The ferry workers were having a Very Bad Day when we tried to get off the island for the dog’s oncology appointment the last week of July. You know how it goes. The early ferry was full. (On a Wednesday, at 5:00 a.m.? Really?) And we didn’t get on. The next one didn’t have enough crew and left an hour late.
The veterinarian said come anyway. So we did. All the way to Renton. Almost. There was an accident on the interstate ten minutes from our destination. The vet called again. Too late to have the procedure we needed. So, rescheduled for Monday.
It’s times like these that I have recite a centering phase. Just to keep things in perspective. I am not afflicted. I am inconvenienced. Breathe in, breath out with the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t always take the first time through. It might take a while. But eventually I get there.
I am not afflicted. It’s true. My life is mostly good, despite my failures and mistakes, which keep me very humble. My responsibility in the midst of such blessing, is to remember that affliction is out there and when I see it, I am bound to respond as a follower of Jesus.
Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to make that point. Martin Luther restated it in this way: “Whoever is in need is my neighbor.” And it seems that a very good way to respond to inconvenience is to redirect that energy.
On that Very Bad Day after breathing in and breathing out with the Holy Spirit a few times I went instead to visit someone who had to move off Lopez to live in a care setting. On the way I saw a neighbor in need. So I helped him. And that’s all it took to turn my inconvenience into blessing.
In the Love of Christ,
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.