St. Joseph Province

Missionaries Of Compassion

“Do as I have done” Jn 13,15


Several years ago I read a story by Arthur Gordon in Reader’s Digest telling of how his wine had run out. He put it this way: “Not long ago I came to one of those bleak periods that many of us encounter from time to time, a sudden drastic dip in the graph of living, when everything gets stale and flat, energy wanes, enthusiasm dies. The effect on my work was frightening. Every morning I would clench my teeth and mutter, ‘Today life will take on some of its old meaning. You’ve got to break through this thing. You’ve got to.’ But the barren days went by and the paralysis grew worse. The time came when 1 knew I had to have help.” Well, the article goes on to describe how he went to his family doctor, not a psychiatrist, but a general practitioner, a man much older than himself, who had savoured and learned much of the wisdom of life. He continues his story. He tells the doctor, “I don’t know what’s wrong but 1 just seem to have come to a dead end. Can you help me?” “Where were you happiest as a child?” the doctor asked. “As a child?” he echoed. “Why, at the beach, I suppose. We had a summer cottage there. We all loved it.” “All right,” said the doctor, “here’s what I want you to do.” He told Arthur to drive to the beach the following morning, arriving no later than nine o’clock. He could take some lunch, but was not to read, listen to the radio, or talk to anyone. “In addition,” the doctor said, “I’ll give you a prescription to be taken every three hours.” off four prescription blanks, wrote a few words on each of them, numbered them and handed them to Arthur. “Take these at nine, twelve, three, and six,” he instructed. Arthur glanced at him asking, “Are you serious?” The doctor gave a sort bark of a laugh and said, “You won’t think I’m joking when you see the bill.” The rest of the article is about his going to the beach, a day of silence, of memory, of recollection, of being ministered to and healed by the sights and sounds of ocean and sky. The doctor’s prescriptions, as he opened them, were brief. The first one he opened said, “Listen carefully.” At noon, that one said, “Try reaching back.” And so on. His story ends this way: “The western sky was a blaze of crimson as I took out the last piece of paper, six words this time. I walked slowly on the beach. A few meters below high water mark, I stopped and I read the words again. ‘Write your worries on the sand.” “I let the paper blow away, reached down, picked up a fragment of a shell and kneeling there under the vault of the sky, I wrote several words on the sand, one above the other. Then I walked away and did not look back. I had written my troubles on the sand, and the tide was coming in.”                          

 -William J Bausch

The western sky of the year 2011 is crimson; the sun is fast setting. Hurry! Write your worries of 2011 on the sand; the tide is coming in. Hurry!

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