The healing power of Easter people



Healthcare organizations routinely gather and analyze information — such as patient satisfaction — to evaluate and improve healthcare services. This year during my Lenten-Easter journey, I decided to review my intentions and progress as I would patient-satisfaction surveys: I would consider what went right or where I missed the mark, and look for ways to grow in Christian love. I share my LentenEaster journey this year, and I hope my story will encourage you to reflect upon yours.

We are Easter people. Out of the darkness of suffering and death, we believe we can rise to new life and return to God. But we needn’t wait for the afterlife. With each new dawn, we have the opportunity to rise to new life here and now. We can turn away from old patterns of thinking and acting; and with purpose, rise to new ways of thinking and loving.

During Lent, I challenged myself to clean out old, tired ways of thinking and doing, and make room for the abundant, joy-filled life God desires for us. A bit about me and my motivation. I am a high-energy person, and I enjoy staying busy. But now that I am in my 60s, the amount of energy needed to accomplish what I did in my 20s, or even in my 50s, requires an investment from me that often leaves me feeling depleted — physically, emotionally and spiritually — and sometimes feeling resentful. Timeconsuming or energy-zapping activities needed to be pared down so I had ample time and energy for what mattered most in my life; especially my family.

During this journey, I came to realize that I was not a good steward of the time and energy God gave me each day. After praying for guidance and talking with my spiritual director, I opened my over-booked travel and appointment calendar and asked myself important questions. What responsibilities or tasks could I transition to another — especially someone who might be looking for a new growth opportunity? What projects could survive with “good-enough” attention? What activities or concerns should I totally release, in faith, to God? When I assessed my activities within this framework, I began to understand that even good works and enjoyable activities could be sinful when they prevented me from being a fully attentive, loving Christian.

Hard work has always paid off for me; but with my new priorities set that approach was no longer useful. I needed to be a better steward of my time and resources, and this would necessitate consolidating my work activities and limiting my travel schedule. After this honest self-discovery, I had to step out of the boat of safety and allow the Holy Spirit to walk with me and shore-up my wobbly faith.

This process has not been without pain; but then, that is the message of Easter: the pain of the crucifixion is integral to Resurrection. I revised my previously well-developed scope of ministry, and my business plan. I prayed; and honestly, I worried.

On balance, I did a fair job of cleaning out my over-booked calendar and am happy to report I am more attentive to what matters most. Interestingly, some activities I needed to divest were enjoyable, even healthy or fun. But in evaluating them, I came to understand they often consumed a disproportionate amount of my limited time or energy. I also had to admit that even my ministry and other good works had indeed taken pride-of-place in my life. Those realizations continue to require a significant dose of humility. I am glad our Church offers us the sacrament of reconciliation, which on more than one occasion during this journey helped to refocus my heart and actions towards healthier ways of loving and being. While this journey has been bumpy, I am pleased that people around me are noticing the newness of life. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

We are Easter people, and our stories of struggle and resurrection are integral to our spiritual growth. With honest self-reflection, prayer and wise guidance, our conversion stories can spark healing for others. Do you have an Easter story of rising to new life? I would be honored to hear yours.

Rachel Forbes Kaufman

Rachel Forbes Kaufman is an officer in the Southwest Indiana Guild of the Catholic Medical Association. She researches, writes and teaches about the intersection between human wellbeing and spirituality. You are welcome to share your stories with her at [email protected]