Yesterday on my shift, I dealt with some extremely manipulative patients.  Of course, that’s medicine for you.  No surprises there!  Sometimes, the manipulative can be quite like burning pitch; it sticks to you and nothing you can do stops the pain.  Well, after hours of struggle and far too much time attempting to do the right thing in response to their complaints, their demands and their potentially genuine illnesses, I finally left.  I went to our church ‘trunk or treat.’  We have a Halloween event for kids that allows us to interact with the neighborhood folks.

Of course, I arrived feeling a little guilty; not a bad thing, you know.  I felt guilty that I had allowed myself to be angry at my patients.  That is was hard for me to love them the way I am called to love them.  And anger can be un- healthy.  Anger colors our decisions. Anger gives control to others.  It has a role, but must be used cautiously and rarely.

We came home from church, and everyone was in bed; I said my prayers for the evening as my wife and children slept quietly all around.  And it occurred to me, probably thanks to my prayer time, that God probably has days like I had…but in dealing with me.

Of course, he’s all knowing and all loving.  But sometimes he must just look at Gabriel or Michael, Moses or Elijah, Jesus or Peter and say, ‘I have told him and told him, and he never listens!  And then he asks for things I’ve already given him (but he doesn’t see); he forgets to thank me for things I give him, and he just won’t let go of the things he ought to!’  Of course, he ends the discussion like this:

‘Of course, I love that guy!  He’s my child and he is just the coolest!’  He says that about every one of his children, you see.

If only I could remember that I never really drive God crazy, maybe the folks I see would have less effect on me as well.  After all, he loves them too.  Even if they seem like burning pitch to me, they seem like lost children in need of a father, to the Father of us all.


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