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Pastor's Notes - January 2016

posted Jan 11, 2016, 11:46 AM by Laurie DeGezelle

Dear Friends,


A couple of weeks ago, I caught the flu.  I never got around to getting a flu shot in the fall.  I thought about it on several occasions, but it was always an inconvenient time, or I had the dog with me and couldn’t stay, or something.  Probably the truth is, I didn’t want to get stuck with the needle.  Which would have hurt for all of 2 seconds and ached for maybe an hour.  So instead I was totally miserable for 24 hours and moderately ill and exhausted for another week.  How foolish is that?  But such is human nature.


Which set me to wondering what else I might be subconsciously avoiding, because it’s uncomfortable in the short term, even though it is very much more beneficial in the longer term?  One thing on my list is an unpleasant medical check, about which nothing further need be said in polite company.  But what about other areas of life?


I’ve reached the age where, as one speaker put it, “If I died today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would not consider it a premature death.”  Is my will up to date? Not very.  It would also be a good idea to have a health care directive, chosen representative, and all those other good things in place.  It’s not too soon to lay in plans for my burial service either.  It’s one of the simplest, greatest gifts someone can give to their family, who will otherwise have to make a lot of educational guesses while under stress and facing time constraints.  Pre-planning practical matters surrounding serious illness and end of life is, (assuming reasonable plans, of course) is a tremendous gift to your family.


Without being maudlin, remembering that our time on this earth is unknown can serve as a reminder and motivation to attend to those things Stephen Covey categorizes as “important but not urgent”.  Have you told the people you love that you love them, today, or at least this week?  Have you shared your time and talent generously with your community and particularly with the poor and the outcast?  Have you named, encouraged and celebrated the gifts of people who make your life better?


As we begin 2016, let us resolve to do those things we might have been avoiding.  Let us attend to those things that are important even though not immediately urgent.  God grant that we may be a blessing to an ever wider circle of people around us.


Have a terrific year!


The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Harries