It’s strange how a seemingly minor event can change your whole perspective on life. A week ago I fell ill with what I thought was a bout of food poisoning after having lunch at a café near my day job – the GP agreed on this diagnosis and prescribed rest, fluids and anti-nausea medication. After a day, I had mostly recovered and thought I would be back to normal by Australia Day.
Instead I ended up in hospital overnight after crashing horribly – initial tests suggested an infection that was an the border of invading my bloodstream and turning very serious indeed. Heavy duty antibiotics were administered intravenously and I rallied enough to be sent home the following day – much to the disgust of my employer who seemed to think I was just enjoying a long weekend.
Lying in the hospital bed, I had time to consider my condition and compare it to the health issues my family had been experiencing recently; Dad suffered a stroke several years ago from which he has never quite fully recovered, and more recently underwent surgery on his knee and presently has difficulty walking or bending it enough to drive. Mum suffered a heart attack a year ago and has had ongoing issues that her regular GPs and specialists are having difficulty diagnosing and resolving. My brother had bowel surgery back in October and although his health has now improved dramatically, life and circumstances continue to pressure and to challenge him on a daily basis.
Last year, I declared 2015 the Year of Getting Stuff Done. I made many grand plans and set lofty goals, working and studying to the point of draining and exhausting myself. Truthfully, my ambition lies some 20 years hence so there has been no pressure to exert myself and yet plans such as studying the Japanese and Indonesian languages and culture took hold to the point of becoming an obsession. One day I would like to spend time in Japan and Indonesia teaching the Gospel but I need to learn to talk amongst my friends and family first.
And then came the health crash and I realised that none of it was really all that important – the Gospel certainly is, but I should start closer to home and concentrate on that. Instead I need to focus on time with family and make that one of my highest priorities. Overseas travel can wait – Indonesia is constantly changing and revolutionising, but Japan will always be Japan.
So 2016 I think will be a year of Focus and Family. The rest of the world can wait until I have attention to spare.
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