Finding Balance in Life

Finding Balance in Life

If the question comes up in the Halifax Temple, “Is there is a doctor in the house?”, the answer is, “Yes, two.” Roy and Hilda Fox who recently retired from busy medical practices are now President and Matron of the Temple. Their first words of counsel are: “People need to understand the importance of balance in life and then commit to finding and practising it.”

Hilda and Roy met at orientation activities for Durham University’s medical school in England.  They married during their final year and interned in the same hospital in Newcastle, before moving to London where Roy worked at the London Free Hospital and Hilda was busy raising a son and two daughters.

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A two-year Fellowship in Immunology at the Scripps Clinic took the Foxes to LaJolla, California where they began a life-long interest in physical activity and both took up running.

[They have since competed in the annual Dartmouth NS Natal Day Road Race for many years, and now make this event a family activity. They also regard swimming as another physical activity that helps them live a balanced life.]

Later as assistant professor in Gastroenterology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Roy remained committed to keeping a balance with family, work and physical activity, but was seeking for something that still seemed missing from his life.

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In October 1976, two missionaries knocked on the door of their home. At first, it was Roy who met with them, but when Hilda began to notice changes in her husband, she became interested in learning the cause.  Roy and Hilda were baptized in March 1977.  In April of the following year, the young family flew to London, England where they were sealed as an eternal family.

While working with veterans at Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax, Roy developed an interest in geriatric medicine and accepted a position at Victoria University in Manchester, England. He recognized the need for a more holistic (balanced) approach to health and was one of the first professors to teach medical students about death and dying.

He returned to Nova Scotia to become the first head of the of Geriatric Medicine at Dalhousie University and was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Health Care of the Elderly at Camp Hill Medical Centre.

In 1991, Roy’s life became seriously out of balance when he and many others working at the new Veterans' Memorial Building at the Camp Hill Medical Centre developed what is now known as “environmental illness”. There was little understanding of this illness at the time and as a result the diagnosis, Roy was on disability for two and one half years.  One of those years was spent apart from his family in a facility in Texas where he was asked by the Nova Scotia government and the University to learn more about the illness.  When he returned to the province, he was appointed to assist in the development of a treatment centre and became the first director of the Environmental Health Centre [now part of Capital Health as the Integrated Chronic Care Service],  where more and more patients who become similarly ill can go and learn to get their lives back in balance through a multi-faceted approach.

With such a chronic illness, Roy found one of the hardest things was “to worship with my fellow members when the chapel environment made me physically ill.” As he slowly began to recover, he was assigned to home teach with two different temple presidents who encouraged him to more consistently attend the temple. When he did so, he found his “capacity and resiliency improved even more.”

Now as President and Sister Fox serve in the temple, they still find the need to work at keeping balance.  “It must be a life-long pursuit. Our whole environment, both external and internal, has an effect on us, for good or ill.  We need good nutrition, sufficient rest and exercise, and time for inner reflection and meditation.  When we put the things of God first, everything else will work out.”  Hilda often refers to a favourite scripture, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (D&C 101:16) That is a good reminder for all of us, if we truly want to find balance in our lives.

Topics:  Family, Perseverance, Temple attendance