By Susan Esther Barnes
This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I could feel that my blood pressure was significantly higher than normal. I know high blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because most people can’t feel it, but I can. One day I expect to write a post about how feeling God’s presence is like feeling your blood pressure. You can learn to sense it once you discover what to pay attention to.
I took one of my cats to the vet last week because of an inconvenient but non-emergency issue that arose. They did an exam and sent some samples to the lab. Today, I had to take him back so they could do some more lab work and take an X-ray. I’m worried about the cat.
Also, Thursday before last, I went to seek some medical advice for myself due to something unusual I noticed, and I ended up getting an unscheduled mammogram. At first the nurse practitioner said she’d call me that afternoon with the results. Then, after the mammogram lady looked at that day’s images, she said they were going to order copies of the images from my mammogram from last year to compare, and it would take three or four days before they got back to me.
After a week I still hadn’t heard anything, so I sent an email asking what was up (I made the appointment online so I didn’t have the phone number). The next day I got an email back saying they don’t know, but they’d call me back that afternoon. Monday I sent another email. As of Monday night I still hadn’t heard anything. So, yeah, my blood pressure was high.
This morning I was in the car, driving the vociferously unhappy cat to the vet, knowing he’s got something wrong with him but not being sure whether or not they’ll have an effective way to treat it, while at the same time wondering whether I have breast cancer, and whether the delay in getting the results to me is giving it extra time to grow and/or spread. I know I tend to over-react to this sort of thing, but that’s where my head was.
I exited the freeway, and suddenly realized I had gone one exit too far, mistakenly taking the exit to the synagogue, not the exit for the vet. Even with the cat crying in his carrier in the seat beside me, like a homing pigeon I had subconsciously headed to a place of comfort rather than my intended destination.
I very much wanted to drive to the synagogue and go sit in the quiet sanctuary, soaking up God’s presence and the serenity and strength of community permeating that special room. Just ten or fifteen minutes could have done wonders.
I’m pretty sure the cat wouldn’t have appreciated that, though, so I turned left and headed down the road to the vet. I then turned on some cheery music in the car as I drove to work, where I settled in to wait for results for both of us.
Then I decided, “screw that,” and I dug around online until I found a phone number for the medical office I’d been to and I talked to a nurse, who looked at my results. She said the mammogram looked "pretty normal" and they recommend a regularly scheduled follow-up mammogram in two years, which is what I believe they recommend for every woman my age. She says they mailed me a letter with the good news yesterday.
I’m still going to take those ten or fifteen minutes in the sanctuary later on this week, though. As a wise person once said, if you only hang out with God when you’re worried about something or want something, what kind of relationship is that? Certainly not one fit for a homing pigeon.