All to this point.
I’m the youngest of three boys. My Mom, Pearl, always told me, “You’ll always be my baby!” Well, I’m ﬁfty-ﬁve now, my Mom passed 10 years ago and yes, I still feel like the baby. I always wanted to grow up fast – and therein is the problem for me, and for many of us.
In my younger days, I know some of you wish you could press “rewind” and be ﬁfty-ﬁve again, but in my younger days I always had an urge for what was next; as do almost all who possess age without wisdom. How could I get from where I am to where I want to be as quickly as possible? Striving was part of my east coast, American DNA. Striving. Pushing. Pressing on. But what I now embrace is that all the stuﬀ I’ve experienced, both joy and sorrow – especially the sorrow, has funneled me to this particular point in life, for this moment in eternity.
Recently, I was riding along with an Advanced Life Support ambulance crew from the EMS department I chaplain. Two amazing women were my mentors. Beyond capable, these ladies are exemplary of the kind of care people expect when life and health go sideways. As we chatted, I shared my history in photography, journalism, freelance photography, and pastoral ministry. At the very end, the paramedic chirped, “And it’s all brought you to this point.”
Without a doubt, yes! The long and winding road I wanted to circumvent was absolutely necessary in order for me to do what I’m doing right now. Years, especially those ﬁlled with challenges, hardship, and deep sorrow, were essential in my personal and inner formation, to serve others today! Keep in mind, being a chaplain was never, ever on my radar, so I can’t say I was aiming for this target.
The paramedic’s surgical insight was something I’d meditated on for quite some time prior. And I’ve come to this conclusion: all the bumpy, hilly, winding, often painful paths we walk, even ill health, are necessary and play a role in forming us into the person we need to be…now get this part…in order to better serve and care for others! These pains are not in vain! I thoroughly believe God never wastes pain, but we often do!
I’m not suggesting we invite hardships into our lives. Life is a hard struggle without the invitation. But what I am suggesting is, perhaps the entirety of living has a signiﬁcant, even divine purpose – to make you a better you so you can serve others. All to this point.
Rev. Peter Keady, CC, CCISM
Chaplain, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley
“Into every life, a little rain must fall.” – Pearl DeLucia, my Mom. Also the 1940s band, The Ink Spots