A Sudden Change of Life (2)


For the past thirty-five years, I lived a pretty independent life. Twice I was missioned to cities where there were no other Jesuits – Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Las Vegas, Nevada. I took care of my own expenses and had a car. My independence came to a screeching halt on January 5th when, as you know, I had a mild stroke. The car is still at my disposal, but I haven’t been able to drive it because my eyesight was damaged by the stroke. My eye specialist said it will heal in time. In the meantime, I have had to depend on the kindness and generosity of others to drive me to doctor’s appointments, the store, and other outings.

Certain authors have helped me to deal with my situation. Writer Roy T. Bennett (“The Light in the Desert”) shared, “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” Dale Carnegie, who preached a positive way of looking at life, wrote

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And, from the movie

“Chocolat,” these wise words: “We can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create.”

I have been blessed with a positive outlook on life. Still, when the stroke happened, I had to garner some extra affirmative energy. I found it in a variety of ways. One friend of mine who had a stroke when she was in her 30’s (she is now in her 50’s) encouraged me to be kind to my body as it heals. Another friend, a college classmate, who has had to deal with some serious health issues, shared how he learned to see the intimate connection of acceptance of one’s reality and patience. This gave him peace of mind.

I have also found help from the loving concern of others. Many responded to the letter I sent out a month ago for which I am deepl grateful. Thanks to those of you who shared from your own experience of dealing with physical and medical issues and to those who sent affirming messages.

When I really need a ‘jolt’ of energy, I google Pharrell Williams and listen to his lively song, “Happy,” or listen to the singing of Andrea Bocelli. I assume you have your own favorite ways of having your spirits lifted. Feel free to share your own practices.

May God continue to bless you and those you love.

Max Oliva, SJ worked in Las Vegas for six years. The only Jesuit in the state of Nevada, his main ministry was called “Ethics In The Marketplace.” Now in Spokane, he has a continued involvement in Las Vegas, albeit on a part-time basis. His web site is found here - www.ethicsinthemarketplace.com

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 04:29h, 13 May Reply

    A beautiful reflection on all you have been through and a great inspiration to others experiencing similar health issues (myself included). Thank you, bless you and may your healing continue.

  • Ann Ascoli
    Posted at 10:08h, 13 May Reply

    God bless you Fr.Max. I am cheered by your book on the Beatitudes. Their promises give me strength and understanding ! Bless you for all you have done for us all. May you have patience with your healing. Better days ahead

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 11:25h, 13 May Reply

    Thank you Max!

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