Chicago Warriors: Ask Father Mike

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I hit the bed as soon as Beth left for work, but tossed and turned for a couple of hours hardly getting any sleep. Thoughts of what could possibly be affecting her to the point of placing her health in danger would not leave me. I felt so restless that I decided to walk over to St. Xav's for a workout. Maybe a good run and lift would wear me out to the point of exhaustion-then maybe I could sleep.

Finishing my three-mile run around the campus, I walked into the gym and spotted Father Mike from Queen of Martyrs parish. Queens was right across the street on 103rd; Beth and I have been members since we moved into the neighborhood. Father Mike was not only a great priest, but a close friend as well. Whenever we could arrange it we would go for a run together. It was a great opportunity to discuss the Catholic Faith. It also afforded me somewhat of a free counseling session. I could bounce things off Father Mike; he would come up with a solution to my problem more often than not, and we would both get in a great workout.

"Hey Father Mike!"

"Pete, how are you? Just get off work?"

"Naw, I've been home for a couple of hours, but I couldn't fall asleep. I thought I'd come over here, wear myself out, and then give it another shot."

"That's a good plan-I hope that it works for you. I'm just finishing up my weight workout now, and then I'll put in 15-20 minutes on the elliptical."
"Do you have a minute Father?"

"For you, always. I'm going over to Little Company of Mary Hospital at two o'clock to visit a sick parishioner, but that's all that I really have on my plate today as far as scheduled things go. What's up?"

"It's about Beth."

"She sick?"

"In a way...yes. Let me ask you a question...Do you think that she is looking a bit too thin these days?"

"You know Pete, since the weather has finally warmed up, and people have shed all the heavy clothing, I have noticed that she is looking very thin. I didn't want to mention anything to you, but since you asked, I would say most definitely. In fact, I think that she is looking almost anorexic."

"As much as I hate to say it, I think that you're right Father. Joe and Susan O'Hara are actually the ones that pointed it out to me. I've been so self-absorbed that I failed to recognize the fact that my own wife was in trouble. I feel horrible about it, like I'm almost complicit in her health problems."

"When you say problems, is there something else?"
"Yes. Joe and Susan also said that they have noticed an uptick in her drinking as well."

"Pete, when something like the problems that you just described begin to manifest themselves, there is almost always a mental component involved. Granted, there are hereditary predispositions for both disorders, but in many cases the genesis is traceable to some traumatic event that they now feel guilty about, or that they have no control over. They become depressed and feel a need to regain control over their lives, or at least one aspect of it. In the case of females, disorders like anorexia and bulimia are most often the behaviors that they turn to so that they can regain control over something."

"Father if that's the case, the only thing that I can possibly attribute it to would be our inability to get pregnant. I have been after her about the two of us going to get tested, but she flatly refuses to go or even discuss the problem."

"That could be it Pete, or maybe that's just a part of whatever it is that is causing her all of this uneasiness. Do you both want to come and see me to talk about it...?"
"Not yet. I'm going to see Dr. Grossman at Little Company Hospital about my shoulder-it's been giving me some pain whenever I do bench presses. I'll see what his thoughts

"Isn't Grossman an ER doc?"

"Yes, but we've become pretty close the last couple of years. I had a shooting victim in there one night; Grossman saved his life. I was amazed because this guy took a bullet to the head and barely had a pulse. Within ten minutes he had the bleeding stopped and the guy regained consciousness."

"He served in the Middle East didn't he?"

"Sure did, he said that was some of the best training that he has ever had. He loves trauma so much that he's Chief of ER, doesn't want to leave it."

"Okay. Keep me updated. In the meantime I will include her in the intentions at tomorrow's mass. They say that laughter is the best medicine, but Psalm 107 tells us that, ‘He sent His Word, and healed them.' Pray Pete.

I resolved that I would. Even though I thanked God for her every day I needed to ask Him to show me how to help the woman that was my whole world.

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John Wills spent 2 years in the U.S. Army before serving 12 years with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). He left the CPD to become an FBI Special Agent, working organized crime, violent crime, and drugs.  John Wills is an author of Chicago Warriors: Midnight Battles in the Windy City published by

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