I went to my family doctor this past Monday to have my annual physical examination. I did not eat anything from midnight the night before and did not have my usual morning coffee which irritated me greatly but I followed all the directions given to me and arrived early for the appointment. When I was called in, I did my duty and give them the urine sample needed, and then went into the exam room where the nurse asked me a host of questions, took my blood pressure reading, and made me read an eye chart after weighing me and measuring my height. The scale in the doctor's office even weighed me less than my scale at home for the first time ever. So, my visit started out in a very positive manner.
Soon, the doctor came in to see me. I have been seeing this same doctor for about ten years now so he knows me somewhat. I stay pretty healthy so I do not see him regularly unless I have a need for him. He makes me come in at least twice a year so he can stay in touch since I take a small amount of blood pressure medication and he wants to be sure it is working okay. He looked down my throat, in my ears and eyes, and listened to my heart, my chest, my back, the sides of my neck, each time asking me to breathe or hold my breath, as he desired. Then, he did those things that doctors do to men patients that require one to drop his pants and stand in front of the doctor while he prods and pokes and does unspeakable acts. All went well and then I went to give my three vials of blood for testing. All in all, it was fairly painless and not humiliating at all, since I chatted with him all through it, even when I had my pants around my feet.
My doctor has joined the 21st century and sends me my test results by email so I received them yesterday. I passed my physical with flying colors. Everything is great in the blood department and I am supposed to carry on as usual since I try to eat healthy, get regular sleep and exercise, and try to live as stress free as possible. Everything is moderation is my motto and I try to live by that saying.
It is good to have a complete physical exam once a year just to be sure that all continues to go well in your health. It is good to have as spiritual physical also at least once a year, to think about what we are doing in our lives that either bring us closer to God to takes us in the other direction. Perhaps we need to think about how often we attend worship or if we ever read the Bible or other inspirational material or how we treat our neighbors. Maybe we need to think about making a new start during Lent that is about to begin next week. Lent provides another place in life to start again. We begin on Ash Wednesday by getting serious with God and perhaps making a pledge to do something positive in our life for 40 days. That is a good way to break into a new habit or begin an old good habit once more.
I always give up something for Lent, not because someone tells me that I have to but because it gives me a good feeling to test myself to see if I can do it. Forty days without meat or dessert does not drive me crazy with desire for either of those things. I have given up one or both for Lent in the past and found that it helped me to live in a constructive way for that short period of time. I learned that I could indeed be a vegetarian if I desired for a long period of time but doing it during Lent simply helped me to prove to myself that it is possible. Giving up something does not have to include food. Some give up a piece of technology or they give up gossip or they give up television on one day a week. One has to decide what this sacrifice means to oneself and if it really will make any difference at all in life if they do it or do not do it.
I like Lent. Lent gives me the time and space in my life to think about what is important to me in life. Lent helps me to devote myself to new spiritual practices or to revive old ones that were once important to me but have been put aside for some reason or another. I think about Lent as being just as important to me as that yearly physical exam. It helps me to see what is going on in my life and if I need to change in any way or if things are good as they are. Lent is like a check-up from the neck up, as it says on an inspirational poster I saw somewhere once. Maybe it is a good thing to do for 40 days or even more.