Epiphany Reflections: Epiphany Arrived Early
Epiphany Reflections 2022
Confluence, a Center for Spirituality in the Diocese of Missouri, dedicated to providing opportunities and resources for spiritual formation.
Epiphany arrived early this year, at least for me. It happened on December 6.
That’s the day I arrived early for my 9 a.m. appointment at the Mercy Hospital Heart and Vascular testing unit to have a Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT) sensor taped to my chest. The technician apparently arrived late, as he didn’t call me or anyone from the otherwise empty waiting room until 9:40 a.m., and offered no explanation or apology about the long wait.
So, we started with me irritable.
He was a young man, probably 16, pretending to be a mature 23. He was quite uncertain as we got underway as if he was straining to recite memorized lines. Maybe, I thought, he used those 40 minutes to practice his spiel or even to take a final exam. Clearly, he was brand new at explaining how my sensor and monitor devices functioned.
I stayed annoyed, wishing I had a seasoned practitioner.
After a while he became steadier in his authority, instructing me on how to manage the two devices, peel the patch off my chest (ouch!) every five days, recharge the batteries, reattach the sensor, and how to report symptoms on the cell phone-type monitor I’d carry with me for the next 30 days. Things I needed to know.
My ill temper calmed as I intently listened.
December 6, you may remember, is Saint Nicholas Day. My gift that day was the holy realization, yet again, of how totally dependent I am on others. On this young man, newbie though he be. On the unknown scientists, cardiologists, and engineers who developed the awesome medical telemetry that would track each beat of my heart for a month.
Indeed, throughout the darkness of the Covid-19 crisis (including the new hell of Omicron) there have been many points of holy light if I allow myself to see them. Most particularly, for me, they appear when I surrender my delusions of autonomy to see how interdependent our human lives are with each other. Most particularly, for me, I perceive these points of holy light when I have the humility to notice how my assumptions of control, safety, and predictability in this life have shattered yet again.
The Order of Compline offers this Collect among its intercessory prayers:
“O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord” (BCP 134).
My month early epiphany light illumined deeper appreciation for those who toil while I sleep. I have new gratitude for those who invented medical devices before I ever knew I needed them and renewed thankfulness for young men starting out in a medical career of service and caring.
And new humility before the God of unfailing providence and mercy.
P.S. The MCOT detected no significant arrhythmic events!
January 17, 2022
The Rev. Paul A. Metzler, a Priest Affiliate of Emmanuel Church in Webster Groves, has served on the Confluence Board since 2019.
Tags: Epiphany Reflections