by Father Mark Goldasich
Sometimes, you gotta laugh.
I was supposed to have a doctor’s appointment on All Saints’ Day. I dutifully called several days before to cancel and reschedule. The appointment was moved to a week later.
On Oct. 30, I got a text from my doctor’s office reminding me of my Nov. 1 appointment. It instructed me to reply with a “Y” for confirm or “N” to cancel. Puzzled, I entered “N” and thought no more about it, figuring the office hadn’t yet updated its calendar. On Halloween, I got another text of that Nov. 1 appointment, which I again replied with “N.”
Worried that something was messed up, I called my doctor’s office earlier this week to confirm that new, Nov. 8 appointment. Another receptionist, who had only been there three days, said, “Well, there’s nothing here about that, but we did have you as a ‘no show’ on Nov. 1.”
I almost burst into hysterical laughter. I told her I called to cancel by phone and texted twice to cancel. All, apparently, to no avail.
This whole misadventure triggered my latest, most helpful, mantra: LULU. Those letters stand for: Loosen up, lighten up. They’re a terrific stress reliever.
I wish I could say LULU was my own creation, but it’s a little-known holiday that’s celebrated on Nov. 14. Like Kindness Day that I wrote about last week, celebrated the day before LULU, most of us could use a huge dose of this holiday as well.
We know the negative effects of stress: anxiety, outbursts of anger, bouts of depression and high blood pressure, to name a few. LULU is a free and effective way to lessen the stress that’s part of life in the modern world and put things into perspective.
I loved those SNICKERS® commercials that began in 2010. The first one featured Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing in a pickup football game. Betty portrayed a wide receiver; Abe, a quarterback. Obviously, the teammates are unhappy with the ineptitude of Betty and Abe. Before tempers flare, a woman comes to the rescue and hands Betty a SNICKERS® bar and “she” turns back into the teammate’s young, athletic friend. The tag line of the ad campaign was: “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry.”
I’d suggest a modification of that line: “You’re not you when you’re stressed.” Stress transforms us from loving and patient human beings into discontent and disagreeable ogres. It alienates rather than unites people. LULU can become our SNICKERS® bar, restoring us to the Christian people we’re meant to be.
Probably the best way to LULU is prayer. Spending time in silence or reading the Bible or a spiritual book can calm the spirit and open the way for God’s grace to flow upon us. It takes us out of our hectic schedules and lets us experience time in a different way.
Other LULU activities might be stepping away from our cellphones for a day (or at least a few hours), enjoying a visit with friends, taking a leisurely walk or getting “lost” in a favorite hobby.
Come to think of it, we have an invitation to “loosen up and lighten up” every week. We call it the Sabbath, a time to imitate what our Creator did on the seventh day in the Book of Genesis: rest. Attending Mass should be just the start of a time to leave the busyness of the world behind for a day and rediscover what it means to truly be a human “being.”
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The only question is: Will we?