Late Thursday afternoon I got a message from my wife that she was at a local emergency room with her mother. My mother-in-law, Jean, was having a hard time breathing. Minutes later I was on my way there.
Of course, we had no idea we would spend seven hours at a hospital today. You don’t anticipate such things; you just respond and do what needs to be done. You do what’s right and kind and be thankful that you have the ability to be there for people you love when they need you.
One way I respond to potentially stressful situations is through humor. Maybe it’s to relieve the tension in others. Maybe it’s to relieve my own. Probably it’s both. With my mother-in-law’s great sense of humor, it’s safe to say we laughed a lot more than others in the ER. Humor is not only fun, but it’s healthy, so why not put it to good use in such a situation as long as the ailing one is so inclined?
It’s amazing how our detailed plans for each fraction of the day are quickly tossed out the window when there is an emergency. Those things we think we must do today can suddenly wait. The events that are “mandatory” on our calendar get quickly discarded while something with a higher priority takes its place.
That should tell us something. It should indicate that we really live life with at least two sets of priorities. One covers our wish list of what we want to happen and how we want to order our lives if there are no serious bumps along the way. The other set, however, is the real, ultimate set of priorities that kick in when it’s crunch time, especially when people we love are hurting and need us. The first set is the “nice to have” priorities. The second is the “must have” priorities which should always take precedence.
The challenge is to know the difference and to act according to the right set of priorities at the right time.
Leap year lesson #255 is Change your priorities when necessary.