What’s important. And what’s not.

At this time of year, many of us get all wrapped up (read: “obsessed”) with the trappings of Christmas, especially the gifts – both giving and receiving. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but you might be surprised how little it takes to pull you back down to reality. Take, for instance, a health scare from someone you love.

Now I’m not going to get into specifics here, largely because the person in question values their privacy above just about all else, and wouldn’t want me trumpeting about their illness. So I won’t. I will say that something like this came as a real jolt, and if I didn’t have my priorities straight before, I certainly do now.

It’s all well and good to talk about “the reason for the season” and “putting Christ back in Christmas,” but when you have a loved one that is suddenly facing something that could be a debilitating, permanent condition, it really makes you think about what’s important.

What I hate so much about illness is that it’s outside of my control. Give me a design problem, a website, or a piece of music, and I can fix what’s wrong. Need emergency art direction? I’m your guy. Need to diagnose some weird condition? Dr. Gregory House, I’m not.

I’ve been told (by more than one person) that I’m a fairly self-absorbed person. Guilty as charged – until someone I love is in pain or trouble. At that point, I’m all about them. Trouble is, there’s not much I can do in cases such as this, other than to offer love, compassion, and support.

I hate that.

I’m a guy. Give me a problem, and I want to fix it. Give me somebody who just needs me to listen…and I want to fix the problem…not sit there, helpless, and wait for some doctor to tell me “we don’t know what’s wrong.”

Frankly, I gave up on the deification of M.D.s a long time ago. Sometimes “I don’t know” is the best they can do. Doesn’t make me feel any better, really, but I’d rather know they don’t know, I suppose, than think they are keeping me in the dark for fun and profit.

The good news is that it looks (right now, at least) like this is not going to be too serious an illness, nor will it be permanently debilitating. Thank God. Unfortunately, that leaves me doing what I do worst – trying my best to be patient, supportive, and quiet. Still, I’d much rather it work out this way, than a more serious diagnosis. I can take one for the team on the “patient,” “supportive,” and “quiet” front. Thankfully, I can leave the healing to the Big Guy Upstairs – something He specializes in on a daily basis. Thanks, God.

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