What’s Your Excuse? – by Rev. Heather McCarrel

Photo by Brett Jordan/Unsplash

My excuses have been many and varied.  Certainly I have used this pandemic as an excuse for many months and lately I have had the convenient excuse of the terribly cold temperatures.  One of my more plausible excuses is the condition of my left knee with a loose knee cap and a fascinating clicking sound with each step.

About five weeks ago I was challenged to help with a project that is very near and dear to me.  I was asked to help raise funds to keep Spiritual Care in the local hospitals.  Setting aside all my excuses I began each day pedalling my exercise bike to the rhythm of some of my favourite tunes.  Each ride ended as soon as the knee pain became unbearable.  At first I could only manage 3 miles at a time, then 5 miles, and twice I pushed it all the way to 10 miles but both times I paid for it terribly.  Now, I can safely ride up to 7 miles at a time and I completed a 60 km challenge for the fund raiser.

By leaving all my excuses behind I have discovered a renewed energy, a happier attitude, weight loss, and best of all, my achy knee doesn’t ache as much!

It reminds me of the un-named man in the Gospel of John who spent 38 years sitting daily by the pool of Bethesda waiting to be healed.  Jesus came along and asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  Surprisingly the man doesn’t answer by saying “yes”; instead he answers with excuses placing blame on others.

Jesus takes away all this man’s excuses by healing him; Jesus commands, “stand up, pick up your mat and walk!”  Now, the rest of this man’s life is up to him.  Does he find other excuses for not engaging life or does he embrace this second chance? The scriptures do not tell us.   I had a professor at seminary that taught whenever there is an un-named person in a biblical story we are to imagine it is us.  We become that person and their story becomes our story.

So, what excuses are you using for not engaging fully in the life you want?  How do you want the story of your life to go?  Perhaps now is the time for you to “stand up, pick up your mat and walk!”