By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
It is so wonderful to be here at home after spending nearly nine days in the hospital! It is so refreshing to be able to breathe in the fresh air, while marveling at the wide range of green colors of the leaves in our mango tree as the sun warms the breeze that stirs the air. Breathe in and breathe out, watching the birds fly by and appreciating life to the fullest.
It all began about three weeks ago with a very sore throat and no voice that developed into a severe deep dry cough that kept me awake day and night. Initially diagnosed as acute bronchitis/pre-pneumonia, the doctors finally decided that it had originated as an atypical allergic nasal sinus infection. I am now at home feeling much, much better but under “house arrest” for another week to be sure that I fully recover.
It seems that we tend to take for granted our health … thinking that with a good sleep and a cup of freshly ground coffee, everything will turn out ok. The fallacy of this has been clearly pointed out to me during my confinement. My condition was most likely caused by 1) trying to do too much, in other words stressing myself more than necessary although I was enjoying at the same time, and 2) dehydration.
Did you know that every time you cough or sneeze or blow your nose your body loses a bit of its water? That even though you may not be directly exposed to the sun, because of the heat of the air around, you imperceptibly perspire? That to combat the ever-increasing temperature and humidity of our environment, we need to drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water every day?
I asked myself, “Why, Lord, now at this time when I have a lot of activities and work lined up?” During my confinement I missed my long-awaited Lenten weekend retreat with Sis. Carmeli in the mountains of Bais, Negros Oriental, at her Farm School. I also missed our parish recollection, the day-long recollection of our Thursday discussion group with Fr Pio, and our BCBP Manila chapter recollection. As I write this, I am missing the college graduation ceremonies tonight of Boni, our granddaughter, who graduates as an Industrial Engineer. Plus our office is right in the thick of audits preparing for income taxes. I have not been active either in this BCBP website ‘cuz my right hand was strapped into the IV for a week, plus my doctor didn’t want me to do any “work”, only to rest.
As I reflect I believe the Lord has been telling me to slow down a bit, but I just didn’t want to listen. He allowed my illness so I would have time to reflect and listen to what He was trying to tell me. And His message was loud and clear — to slow down so I can better appreciate the everyday moments of blessings and the joy of being alive. I have realized that always being busy and on-the-go doing many things (even though these activities are fruitful and satisfying) is not what life is all about. I am reminded that I should focus more on “being” than on “doing” so that I can more fully appreciate life – my personal life, the life of my family and friends, the life of our company, the BCBP way of life in community, the life of the world around me, and the life that He wants me to live.
Appreciate life. This is my Lenten reflection and message not only to you, my dear friends, but most of all to me. I hear You, Lord. Appreciate life. Enjoy its blessings. And thank God for being alive!