As we grow older, we get to a point where we realize that if we want to maintain our sanity, we must accept each new challenge that we face as an opportunity for growth. We learn that each time we conquer a new challenge, there’s always going to be a new and greater challenge that we will have to deal with in the future. While each new challenge is always personal in nature, it also sometimes includes one or more of our family members or friends.
After I started my law practice in January 1983, one of my first clients was Donna Schmidt. I had met Donna several years earlier when my mom introduced me to her. I don’t remember where we were introduced, but I do remember that it was at a Catholic religious event. Donna was a year younger than my mom. They had known each other since they were teenagers, when they both attended the same high school — the Academy of Our Lady, in Peoria, Illinois.
Last week, I wrote about how we spend a good part of our lives in sorrow because of suffering that is, in most cases, unavoidable. I provided a short but specific definition of the word “suffer,” which is, “to undergo or feel pain or distress.” I then provided the definition of “sorrow,” which is “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.”
It’s been more than a month since my surgery, which took place on November 4th. Last week, I made three trips to the pharmacy to pick up refills for different medications. I have one medication for nerve pain and a couple of other medications that I use for general pain. There’s also a medicated mouth rinse that I use after I brush my teeth. It’s supposed to reduce swelling and ward off infections.
I wasn’t planning on writing about my surgery. My medical problems were not something that I wanted to share with everyone. My plan was to get through my surgery and to be out of the hospital within a few days, which wouldn’t interfere with me continuing to write my weekly Adoration Letter. It turned out that my plan didn’t materialize. Why? Because God had a different plan in mind for me.
Last week, for the first time in more than 10 years, I failed to publish my weekly Adoration Letter. To be precise, after publishing 568 consecutive weekly letters over a period of 10 years and 11 months, I missed one. Yes, I have a “reason,” which is another word for “excuse,” for not writing the letter, but I’m not willing to let myself off the hook.