January, Stress, and Stents

I work in a large, urban church and January is a killer month to get through. There are year-end letters and beginning year routines that have to get done. There is a new cycle of church officers to rotate off and on. There are annual statistics to report to the “head” office. And then….there is the bane of my existence….the Annual Report. In this congregation, they have a yearly annual meeting and for this meeting I have to make a 70 page, multi-colored document with card stock covers. Multiply that by 400 and voila, I have an annual report!. Yeesh! It takes over two weeks to compile and proof and a whole week to run on the copier. When I first started working here, over six years ago, this task alone filled me with terror, considering that the previous assistant never told me how it was accomplished. She had been here 27 years before I came along and let’s just say she left out a LOT of my training. What was routine for her, was mountainous to me. But I got through it and it’s gotten easier each year. However, it still fills me with dread and I usually can’t sleep and have nightmares about balancing a stack of china plates while running up the stairs. πŸ˜€

Yesterday (and for a couple days prior), I worked myself up into a tizzy about a perceived grievance I had against one of the custodians that works here. I assumed that he threw away over 250 booklets that I created and had put in the sanctuary pews. I wanted to take them all out and when I came in Monday morning, they were all gone. I immediately assumed he took them out and threw them away. Turns out, he knew nothing about it and I spent two days re-enacting how I was going to confront him without losing my cool. I was very angry. Then yesterday, I asked calmly where they went and he calmly said he had no idea. Punched the air out of that balloon. Still, as I always do in a crisis, it got me praying on the way to work which always has the good effect of calming me down beforehand. It’s a good thing I did before I made an ass of myself (again). As with all things we worry and stew about, it came to nothing.

I worry and stew needlessly about medical procedures as well. It has been one year since I had an artery unblocked and a stent put in! ONE YEAR! It seems like just yesterday that I went in complaining of nothing more than heart palpitations and a slight burning in my left arm. But, before that procedure, I stewed and worried and filled myself with fear and dread. The procedure (a heart catheterization) was a piece of cake compared to other procedures I’ve had. I barely knew it happened. In fact, I’d recommend everyone get a heart catheterization when they hit 50 to get their arteries checked out.. if only it weren’t so damned expensive! It saved my life though. My front major artery was 99% blocked but with no heart muscle damage. The doctor wondered why I was still alive. I’m not surprised I’m still here though. The most stubborn, irascible and contentious people seem to stay alive and the nicest, sweetest, most giving people seem to die early. It’s one of those mysteries of the universe that no one will ever figure out. I’ve modified my diet somewhat, but as my doctor told me when he gave me the news about how high my triglycerides were even though all other numbers were normal: “You just have a crappy immune system!” Thanks doc!

So, while I stew and stress in January, I need to remember that it’s not doing my health any good to go ballistic over perceived slights and misconstrued wrongs. All it does is get my blood pressure up. I need to remember some wise words I read somewhere:

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 19:11
Good sense makes one slow to anger,and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 22:24
Make no friendship with a man given to anger,nor go with a wrathful man,

Whew, that about covers it! Maybe I can get through January without biting someone’s head off, but I DO need to learn to de-stress. I confess that I am no good at prayer except in emergencies. I can’t sit for long periods of time “praying.” Partly, because I seem to have better results praying on the go at any time and at any minute of the day. To me, there’s no right or wrong way, regardless what all the christian gurus say. Whatever works to unclog the old spiritual arteries is good enough. And that’s the closest I’m getting to making one of those nasty resolutions that everyone breaks before January is out. Blessings!

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5 thoughts on “January, Stress, and Stents

  1. It’s amazing to me just how much mood and outlook can affect our health. If ever there was an argument to be made about the connection between our souls and bodies, then this is surely one of the best examples. I’m glad that you are aware of it in this respect, MoI.

  2. I get myself all worked up over stuff too. I’m a pro at making mountains out of molehills. If you need a mountain that is all fluff and no substance – I’m your gal!

  3. Rob,
    Yes, mood and outlook are key. I’m no optimist by any means, nor am I a “positive thinking” guru follower, but remaining calm above all else, seems to be the key. I just have to keep saying, “I am calm, I am calm.” πŸ™‚

  4. I guess the main strategy is to choose your battles and only get mad at the big stuff. If only I could follow my own advice!

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