It Is I. Do Not Be Afraid.

Last Saturday began as an ordinary day for me. I arose early, said my morning prayers and then spent a few minutes praying with the scripture of the day. It was the story from John’s gospel where Jesus walks across the sea to meet his disciples in the boat. They are frightened, and Jesus says, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Little did I know that those words would become my prayer for the next several days.

I had been feeling poorly for part of the week. Most evident was a shortness of breath after climbing even a short flight of stairs. I also had a persistent cough. I headed to a medical facility to get checked out, thinking I probably had an upper respiratory problem. Some preliminary blood tests showed that I might have developed a blood clot. I was scheduled to preach last weekend, and since I had no way to reach Father Steven, I left the medical facility to assist at the 5 p.m. Mass, with a promise to return right after my service. I was deeply touched by Father Steven’s offer to anoint me after Mass. His prayers were powerful, and the peace from those prayers covered me, as I returned to the facility. Further tests determined that I had blood clots in my right lung. I was told that this was serious, and I was sent by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.

Throughout this journey, the words from my morning prayer kept running through my head. “It is I. Do not be afraid.” My hospital stay was short. They sent me home the following Monday with blood thinning medication, along with another medication that I would have to inject into my body twice daily, for several days. I was a bit tired, but grateful for all of the wonderful care I received from medical staff at the clinic and the hospital. The one question that the hospital was unable to answer is why this happened. For that, I would have to seek out my own physician.

Anne consulted a close friend who is a doctor. He suggested we look to the Mayo Clinic or some other prominent medical facility for an answer. I made some inquiries and prayed a bit for direction. I decided to reach out to a physician friend for some counsel. I was expecting a quick telephone discussion, but instead I was invited to his office for evaluation that afternoon. (God works fast!) I knew that God’s hand was indeed upon me, as I drove to the office for the meeting. I received thoughtful, compassionate treatment and felt confident that I was in the hands of a doctor who would answer the “why” question. God is so good!

I wanted to share this story with you, because we are family. St. Peter’s is not just a place I go to on weekends. It is my spiritual home, and you are family to Anne and me. Father Steven is not just a priest with whom I serve, but a dear friend and brother in Christ. The St. Peter’s staff is also family to me, as we love and support each other on our spiritual journey. I have felt and appreciated every one of your prayers and wishes for my recovery. My family and I thank you for all of that. I feel blessed to have received your support and the medical care that is bringing me back to health again. I am truly on the mend! I will take a lighter schedule for the month of May, so I can rest and recover.

Our loving Father offers us a beautiful lesson in humility, when we are sick and must rely on others to help us. We are forced to put aside our pride and open ourselves to the loving support and care of others, during a time when we can’t do for ourselves. Humility is a beautiful virtue, and we learn it best when we are in need. I have been privileged to minister at hospitals and correctional facilities. I have reflected on what a beautiful gift it was to be a patient, because it reminded me again about what it feels like to be sick and have someone visit. God is a great teacher. There are lessons for us in every situation, if we open our eyes to see them.

I have been overwhelmed by your love and support of me and my family during this time. I am so grateful to be your deacon, and so honored to serve at St. Peter’s. I pray that I may continue to grow in humility, as God teaches me through situations like this one.

In Christ who heals,

Deacon Tim

2 Responses to “It Is I. Do Not Be Afraid.”

  1. Sharon Bruce says:

    Oh Deacon Tim,
    We were so concerned and worried when we heard of your health situation. You have been in our thoughts and prayers. Our bible study gals are praying for you too. I am so happy that your are back at home and “on the mend.” We are very blessed and grateful to have you for our Deacon and part of our church family. You were right about that.
    Thank God for your on going healing and we thank God for you.

    Blessings to you always,
    Sharon and Larry Bruce

    • Tim hennessey says:

      God bless you Sharon and Larry! Thanks for your prayers and kind words. I am indeed blessed!


      Deacon Tim

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