It's a tried and true old line saying about your health: "Listen to your body!" I'm finding it has extended applications and implications as you get older.
The body seems to speak louder and clearer as you age. At least mine does. It's an experience both Molly and I are having. We tire faster (and longer and deeper). Each bigger and more wonderful thing takes more out of us. The recovery time needed, takes longer. "What's wrong with you takes longer to figure out. "Do you have a cold?" Why is your nose running? Why does your standard cough persist longer and deeper?
For me, it was Christmas. Yes, wonderful Christmas. I had looked forward to it for so long. There was just one thing about it. I was going to preach. It would be my last Christmas Day invitation to preach. A high honor for me. Molly and I have always loved that particular service, after the crowds of Christmas Eve had gone home.
I wrote the sermon in November. I read it over and over. Was it right? Would it work? I believed it was what the Lord had given me to say. There was the matter of climbing up into the pulpit. Just getting me there was on my mind. I clung to the knowledge that always the Holy Spirit had come, and given me the strength I needed.
Yet, I nervously worried. The day came. My family would be there. Two dear preacher friends were coming. Other friends would be there, because it was to be the the LAST Christmas Service of mine.
The normal 120 or so must have doubled. There was a holy hush. People listened. It was a Spirit-touched time. So many lined up for a hug afterward. The Lord was there. Among the dear people.
We picked up Starbucks coffee on the way home. We ate a little breakfast. We went to bed. Late in the afternoon, two daughters came, two grandchildren, a grandson-in-law: A wonderful circle of love as we sat, ate soup, and talked of everything.
We rose late on "Boxing Day." I went to the Flagship to row. Saw more friends there (the locker room crowd). Stopped at the clinic for my INR. Had dinner alone with Molly in our apartment. Did my chest-pounding routine and my two nebulizer treatments, finally dropping into bed.
But on Friday, I woke very late, coughing, and struggled to get out of bed. Went back to bed. Coughed more. Finally sleeping till after noon.
I announced I hoped to go row at the Flagship. Molly just shook her head. "I'm announcing this as a rest day - FOR BOTH OF US." She made me soup, then went off to bed. She, of course, was right. It wasn't like it used to be.
We have to take care. We have to stay in when the DOT and the weather people say the storm of rain and snow will clog everything - and then it does. On Saturday morning alone, 350 crashes around the road system with two fatalities. We stayed in on both Friday and Saturday.
We listen to our bods, and listen to those charged with protecting us. And we're still alive. "You used to be very independent," Molly says, "and prone to the risks. You're readier now to ask help, and take a hand." I'm trying. We all need to try. It's part of growing up. Stay safe everybody. Listen to your bod. And listen to your friends.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES