June 26, 2015

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

When challenges arise, think about what you can do

Debra TomaselliBefore I opened my eyes for the day, I felt burdened. My mind raced, swirling with fears for both now and the future.

Yesterday’s optometrist’s appointment shattered my childlike expectation that my eyesight would always be fixable. A drastic change in prescription … was that an area of double vision? Now we need computer glasses in addition to trifocals? And some tests?

My thoughts raced into the future. What if I slowly went blind? What if I couldn’t work? Worse yet, what if I couldn’t write?

Additionally, immediate concerns invaded my thoughts. I faced urgent deadlines at the office that day. One project had to be completed and handed off before noon. Another, requiring extensive research was due at the end of the day. Yet another complicated submission was waiting in the wings. How would I handle the demands? Would it get done? Would I have to work late?

After all, there never seemed to be enough time. My husband and I wanted to visit my in-laws, who were struggling with health issues. We wanted to enjoy the grandchildren, attend their soccer games and dance recitals, to have them spend the night and go to Steak N’ Shake. And how about making a meal for the neighbor who was just diagnosed with cancer?

Finally, I opened my eyes. It was time to get to Mass. I threw on my clothes and headed to church.

Streams of morning light spilled across the landscape as I pulled into the parish parking lot. A cool breeze caressed my face as I raced toward the church.

Inside, I took my place in the pew, knelt down and prayed.

As I bowed my head, fears about my eyesight, concerns about the day’s demands, and struggles about finding time for others surfaced.

Unexpectedly, in the silence, an answer arose. It came without asking. It arrived without effort. The words were distinct and clear. They were for me, and they were for you.

“Don’t think about what you can’t do. … Think about what you can do,” I heard.

Immediately, the burden lifted. My mind flooded with thoughts of all I could do, even if I lost my sight.

I could think. I could talk. I could hug. I could love. I could smell, taste and hear. I could eat. I could pray. I could be.

A wave of peace washed over me.

Later that day, as I handled my work, I focused on the file in my hands instead of stressing about the looming deadlines awaiting my attention. With each assignment, I realized what I could do for that project, completed it, and then moved on to the next. It was very peaceful.

As for the family, we went to the soccer game. We visited the in-laws. Rather than focus on what still needed to be done, I gave those precious moments my undivided attention.

And peace reigns. The advice was simple. It was divine. It was worth sharing.

Don’t think about what you can’t do. … Think about what you can do.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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