A Moment of Meditation Helps Clear My Path

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by Joe MacDonald |

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Last weekend, I met with some of my pastoral colleagues at a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The food was terrific and we dined with the mountains behind us. I looked out the window to see several ski runs etched in the slopes and thought, “My goodness, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

After a great meal with good friends, one of my buddies dropped me off at the Santa Fe Plaza. My wife planned to meet me for a concert of American music that was being presented by the Desert Chorale, a professional, classical choir, at the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, but I looked forward to spending a few moments on my own in one of my favorite cities.

I wandered the streets, visiting some beautiful stores and historic churches, including the Loretto Chapel and the St. Francis Basilica. No one would have branded me a Methodist in this all-Catholic setting. My secret was safe, except for the cross, not crucifix, that hung from my neck, which would have revealed my secret!

A walk of meditation

When I left the cathedral, I noticed a labyrinth outside the church and decided to walk the path in silence. As I walked along the intricate inner workings of the design, I tried to clear my mind, to let go of the world around me and concentrate on taking the next right turn on the path.

I happened upon a few distractions, and the street echoed with the sounds of noisy cars — horns, exhaust, and revved-up engines — but I tried not to let that external chaos overwhelm me as I attempted to listen to my soul. I thought of my family, too, especially my sons, who live with hemophilia. I hoped that I would continue along my path to be the person, advocate, pastor, husband, father, and friend I strive to be.

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I sought to lay my thoughts aside and return to the path that was etched in the stone. But I remembered with each step the many times my wife and I endured long hospital stays because of our sons’ bleeding disorders. I recalled the moments that challenged us — when we battled through painful internal bleeding episodes that brought enormous pain to our boys. I remembered the love I shared with the MacDonald clan during those times when we forged through the roughest of circumstances.

My intentional walk gave way to gratitude as I held the memories of our struggles in my heart and continued to travel the beautiful stone path that lay before me.

While I walked, several people started to follow the labyrinth’s path. They were noisy and weren’t exhibiting any of the solemnity I strove for as they ran up and down the colored bricks that indicated the road to the center of the pattern. The cacophony of endless chatter was distracting, and at times I wanted to break my silence and say, “Please be quiet!” But I knew doing so would negate why I began my journey in the first place. I decided instead to be quiet and make room for the intruders in my sacred space.

I finished walking the labyrinth — to the center and then back out to where I began my odyssey — despite the distractions around me. Taking this quick 30-minute journey made me realize that I will always encounter noise, distractions, and fatigue as I continue down life’s path. However, I shouldn’t let all these outside influences interrupt my walk. I realized that when the chaos of a bleeding episode comes into my family’s life, we should not forget those spaces that bring us peace so that we can better address the problem at hand.

I know I should push forward with my eyes focused on the next right step and the next right turn. My attention to wholeness carries me through the challenges I encounter. I am grateful for the many people surrounding my family, those who offer us guidance and hope in times of distress. My goal is to commit to finding moments of self-reflection so that I may nourish my soul.

All of these things help me to be the person I long to be. I smile, feeling refreshed from a simple 30-minute walk in a beautiful city.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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