The opportunity clock rings at 5:30AM; that that means in plain English is if I'm not in bed by 9:30, it's not going to be a good day. But the best part of the day is in those early morning hours. Yes, the dogs need to go outside, be fed, watered, and each of us needs to shower and get professionally presentable for a real apostolate in the real world. Yeah, the old time nuns had it better: no make up, no nail polish--heck at least half an hour of time they didn't have to put into, well, being socially acceptable enough to keep a job!
By 6:40, we're in chapel for about an hour: meditation/journal prayer/intercession/Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Morning Prayer. I love Cranmer's version of Morning Prayer, lovingly restored and updated in the new 2019 Book of Common Prayer! At 7:40, we head out the door for Eucharist (every day but Mondays).
By 8:45, I have arrived at work and start the day with a brief staff meeting on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the days I treat patients. Health care is an extremely rewarding apostoalate. It gives an incredible opportunity to display the compassion of Christ and to get to know people at an intimate level and invite them toward Jesus. My days are so busy, every ten minutes another person, peppered with unexpected emergenices, persons in crisis and pain. Those morning meetings help us plan, mostly through time crunchy spots, help us figure out what to do about people with special needs, and help keep our patient education systems on track. Adjusting patients in easy; health coaching is the real challenge. And I have to try to keep a positive attitude about insurance companies while jumping through their hoops.
The morning flies by, and I often eat at work and offer Evening Prayer before my one or two o'clock patient arrives, although I dream of several of Sisters being able to say Evening Prayer together at 5 or 5:30, my own days can get really long-- 6 or 7 at night. I care for people--when they are in need--when they are in pain. I get them in that day, if at all possible. And right now my clinic is in a transition spot where we aren't quite busy enough to afford another support staff member but we are growing rapidly to that point. So the burden falls on the doctor.
Health care is far more enjoyable than I ever imagined. My profession has the highest satisfaction rate in health care, and my office is a busy, upbeat place, with patients who are thankful to be my patient, people who travel two hours to get here, and third generation practice members.
Wednesday mornings start with an Optimist meeting at 6:30! Then Eucharist. I decided a long time ago Morning Prayer simply wasn't that important in the middle of the night; actually, its an old catholic principle. One is not obligated to say the office when it interferes with needed sleep! Wednesdays feel especially long so I try really hard to get enough sleep Monday and Tuesday nights!
Thursdays are a little different for me, as I do a one hour staff training at nine, help with whatever paperwork needs to be done, and often treat 2-3 new patients or somebody who's schedule needs a little grace. I'm often back home by 12-3 pm! When there are novices, Thursday afternoons are for them--discussion groups, spiritual direction, stuff like that.
When I get home--I admit it--I run to the kitchen, not the chapel. The tradition of going to the chapel first, when returning home, re=establishing silence and prayerfulness is venerable, but not so appealing at 7:30 at night when you haven't been home for twelve hours.
Monday nights are an exception; I race out of the office and go straight to prayer group until 9 at night. These ladies and the power and discernment that comes through this awesome group of ladies are my life-line. Most of the success I have in life comes from their prayers! It's the type of prayer where we are sensitve to the Holy Spirit's leading on how to pray. Right now there's a lot of praise. Sometimes we've done some down right whacky seeming stuff--like walking every street in the town and praying in front of every house. We have our planned other time excursions. Sometimes it's hand to hand combat with The enemy. But it's the place where most difficult stuff gets done--in our own lives and businessess and in this town! We all have different gifts and the Holy Spirits shows us how to pray.
Often I get some recreation in the evenings: a walk with the dog, a book, bicycling, chatting with friends or community members. I confess I haven't turned the TV on in three months, but I do surf the internet and check in with friends on facebook. I have thie beautiful, big smart TV to the sake of other community members, but it doesn't much interest me. I was super shy as a young person--which explains how I managed to study so much stuff, but these days one of my chief delights time with people.
I love to sing Compline. I know that makes me a weird nun, but it is some of the most beautiful music in the world. And it makes me happy! After Compline, I try to enter into prayerful silence. Life is busy, and I need my husband.
Saturdays, I clean, cook, work on volunteer projects, yard work, and the like. Playing in the dirt also makes me happy. One Saturday a month I try to take as a vacation day/Quiet Day. I usually spend some extra time in prayer. About half the time, I go away perhaps for a hike or to a museum or just to another city, dining out, window shopping.
Sundays are perpetually exciting, as the church meets Sunday by Sunday. I used to be drawn to church primarily for the Eucharist, which is my courage, joy, strength and love. But lately, I just can't wait to see what God will do next, what the sense of others' discernment is. Sometimes, someone will lean over during the service and pray for me or offer a word of prophesy. I love it. And Sunday afternoons, I play, whether it's sports, beaches, hanging with friends, or cooking or baking or gardening. When I was a kid, I didn't really understand Sunday as a day of rest; I was too spoiled with too little homework. Now I really need that time to re-charge. On a really lucky Sunday, when I'm not too tired, I'll join in Evensong and Benediction. And, then, early to bed!
I love the intimacy with Jesus that comes from daily Eucharist, I love community support. But, in the end, I offer each day to Jesus in this strange way, because He asked for it. I think he asked for it because it sets me free for crazy prayer outtings, errands of mercy, and the work of catechesis.