A Forced Retreat

So I’m off for a week…I’ll be catching up on some BustedHalo work and attending a few short meetings with new colleagues and such, but I was planning on going to Toronto for a few days.

And then I fell.

I went to get out of bed to go retrieve our comforter from the clothes dryer and didn’t realize that my foot had “fallen asleep.” Crash! Down I went. I heard my ankle crack as my toes hit the rug and snapped backwards.

And then the pain. I was sure I broke my ankle.

God love Marion I told her to go get some ice and I iced it down nicely and the pain greatly subsided. I was still down on the floor and wasn’t sure if I could get up, but I was feeling a bit better.

Haze the Dog jumped off the bed and curled up next to me and whimpered. Dogs know.

Marion doesn’t drive and there wasn’t a 24 hour urgent care open at this 1AM hour. So I could either go to the emergency room or tough it out until 8AM. Fortunately, my friend Christine was still up on a Saturday night and agreed to come get me in the morning. The ankle stayed iced and raised all night. By morning it felt better and I was only slightly limping.

X-rays showed no breaks. “If there’s a tear,” the doctor said, “then it is a small one and will heal on it’s own. You said you’re taking Alleve, right?”


“Want something stronger?”

I felt like I was in a back alley and my dealer just got some new crystal meth in. I politely declined remembering the time I got deathly sick after some dental work when I just took a small doze of Vicodin to kill the pain in my jaw after an extraction. I’ll take my chances with Alleve.

It reminded me of Louis CK (be forewarned of the language in this video).

So I’ve got a lovely bruise on my instep and it hurts a bit, but in general, I’m fine.

And it has forced me to lie low and simply be rather than do. I’m reading and praying and sitting quietly with the dog. I can walk without pain so we do take some walks but I can’t go for too long–which is fine by him. Once around the block please!

I start at Canisius in a week. So this is a good time to grieve the loss of leaving St. Joe’s. I got a nice standing ovation from our 11:30 Mass crowd for my four year stint there. I cried like a baby and was so touched seeing so many familiar faces. It was also appropriate that Fr. Michael Tunney, S.J. who was the head of the search committee at Canisius for my new position was the presider at mass. It brought things full circle. I’ll miss being at St. Joe’s but am excited to start this new venture.

I’m also able to simply sit and think about what lies ahead. A new campus with new faculty and staff. New ideas to develop and old ideas to evaluate. A staff to inspire and to help them develop their great gifts (and they are great). Taking this time reminds me of the old adage:

“You have to walk before you can run.”

And so while I’d like to jump right into the new venture, taking a break (without breaking a bone) is simply a great time to ask God for what I will need, to face the fears of a new job and new responsibilities and to think more deeply about what God is calling me to now.

So pray that I will be better able to walk and that I can use this time to be more in tune with God and thus, better able to hit the ground run, er… walking next week.

Join the Conversation


  1. Mike, in your entry, I hear grieving, fear, a bit of anxiety, pain, relief that the pain could have been worse. I also hear a sense of hope. Also sounds like you received acknowledgement from the parishioners at St Joe’s (me, included in that standing O), which brought gratefulness. Sounds like this “retreat” offers you a surprise chance to Be, and take in God’s gentle messages. I hope you also get a chance to reflect on what you need this week, and what you will need as you enter a new chapter. ….closure? competence? a need to contribute? meaning? health?
    I will be sure to hold you in prayer as you experience all that new transitions bring. Celebration in the best of ways, both the mourning and the praise that comes from a concurrent onslaught of blessing. Peace, my friend.


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