He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” Mark 4:11-12 (NIV)
I’m great at hearing but not understanding. I can take a “hmm” from husband and turn it into a “he doesn’t care about me, he never cared about me, he wishes he never married me.” I have the art of exaggeration, jumping to conclusions and blowing things out of proportion perfected. So, when I went to the doctor today for my annual wellness exam, and she acted distracted and disinterested, I got my feelings hurt. She is a relatively new doctor to me. Other than seasonal allergies, I don’t get sick. Well, not until I turned half a century old and every joint started aching and my cholesterol shot through the roof. At 50, my health insurance requires a physical every year. So, I decided if I was going to get old and sickly, I better find a doctor I liked. So far, she has been okay. The problem is that I am a slacker and don’t do the exercises that the physical therapist gave me. Nor lose the 25 pounds she recommended last year or exercise 30 minutes per day or remember to take the fish oil she prescribed. I am a downright failure as a patient. Today, when I weighed exactly what I did this time last year and my cholesterol did not drop even one point and I looked at her mindlessly when she asked about how I am tolerating the fish oil (did you know that they sell “burpless fish oil”?), I think she just gave up on me. At least that’s my interpretation of her reaction when I told her that now the top of my foot has this odd burning sensation and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know what to tell you.” I decided she’s mad at me for not following up on her other instructions even though she might just be tired from staying up late with one of her kids or stressed from hassling with an insurance rep or upset from a fight with her husband that morning (see how well I can imagine things that are not there?). No, I’m convinced she hates me. I am a bad patient, and she is just giving up on me. It is probably not that at all, but my guilty conscience talking. The question is not what she thinks of me, but what I am going to do about it. Am I going to follow her recommendations or just keep complaining? For that matter, how many times do I ask God for help, then, go my merry way ignoring His instructions to me? Fortunately, God still loves me even when I am a slacker, but He also lets me suffer from the consequences of my poor decisions until I am willing to repent and ask for forgiveness. Repenting means turning from sin and doing good. Maybe I should pick up an apology card for my doctor. Or I could just show her I’m sorry by losing those 25 pounds.