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Enjoy Yourself. It’s Later Than You Think.


The view of County Mayo, from half way up Croagh Patrick My mother would have loved to visit her homeland.

The view of County Mayo, from half way up Croagh Patrick
My mother would have loved to visit her homeland.

A Dr. Loomis, a baby doctor, had worked for 21 years without a vacation.  He spent most of his time at the hospital, helping women in their heartaches and joys of child bearing.  One day he received a letter from China from a woman whose child had died at birth at Dr. Loomis’s Hospital.

At that time, he had been much consolation to her in her sorrow.  The letter to Dr. Loomis read thus. . . “I am writing from Peking, China.  Today, I saw a plaque on a wall.  It said, ‘Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think.’  I thought of you.  When you sat at my bedside when I lost my child, your face looked so tired and worn.  I had to read this message to think of you. ‘Enjoy yourself.  It’s later thank you think!’ . . . ”

Dr. Loomis took these words to heart.  That day he visited his lawyer friend of many years.  “Shorty, let’s take a slow freighter to South America.”  Shorty answered, “I have too many things to do.”  The Doctor told him of his letter from China.  “Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think.”  A day later, Shorty called Dr. Loomis, “I’m going with you.”

For five months, they sailed the seas and came home renewed and refreshed.  A few weeks later, a sudden sickness struck Shorty and he lay on his death bed.  His final words to Dr. Loomis were, “I’m glad we made the trip.”  This story has been told in countless number of books, magazines and in every language of the world.

This message, “Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think”, had affected my life greatly.  In regard to my 27 trips to Jerusalem, I often said to myself, “You don’t have time to take this trip.  Too much to do.”  I would think of this message from China.  I would pack my bags and spend prayerful time in the Old City of Jerusalem.  And I would always come back refreshed and renewed for future work.

As a young Priest, at a time before I had heard of the story of Dr. Loomis, my mother and I were planning to travel to Ireland.  My mother, from County Mayo, had not seen her sisters in 50 years.  So called friends began telling us that this was too expensive for us to go.  It was not true; we could have made the cost.  Foolishly, my mother and I listened to these tellers of woe.  My mother never made this only outing of her life.  Learn from this!

Be your own master.  Try new ideas for making life more enjoyable and fulfilling.  “Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think!”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 30, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Thank you Fr. McKenna for this advice. God bless you and keep you in His loving care. Pam Gervais

    Comment by Pam Gervais | May 30, 2015 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George! Catching up on my email, as you can see. I love the simple message of this post. I too was putting travel off when my mom was still alive – what if she died when I was abroad? But then, I heard about a man in is early 60’s who was ‘fine’ but then was diagnosed and died within a month from a terrible condition. That jolted me into reality! Here was my mom, living in a nursing home in her 90’s and I was putting our marriage on hold and not wanting to travel to Europe with Tim just in case… well, we went to Europe a couple of times and my mom lived on. And then I was so lucky to spend the last month of her life with her. What a gift! Your words are always so fitting and true – and wonderful advice! All of those trips to the Holy Land, how they enriched your life and you are now passing those experiences on to us, the lucky ones!

    May God Bless you every day, dear friend! I love you!!

    Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Kolember Westvang | June 6, 2015 | Reply


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