Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Returning from illness

Prayers are a wonderful, beautiful lifeline and we should never be told otherwise.  In a world where we face the argument that religion is a source of absolute corruption and people of faith lack logic, we should never be afraid to assert our right to pray.  I will not tell you the details of my suffering last year; partly because, in the grand scheme of things, it was small compared to that of others.  Also, this does not feel like the place to recount my physical woes. I can tell you that there was deep physical pain, hours of darkness and times when it felt as though the rest of life was on the other side of a perspex screen and I could see it happening, but I could not reach it.  I wept and I looked to heaven and I asked God to stay with me.  At times that was the only prayer I could manage, but that was also my thread, my hope.  It kept me stitched to the fabric of life.  Alone as we can be in our suffering, sad and desolate as I was, I knew I was not alone in a room.  Jesus Christ knows our pain.

In June my illness reached a particular crisis and at one time there was talk of my heart beginning to fail.  I went to a priest friend to be anointed.  This sacrament is a very great gift.  I was given strength and there was no immediate remedy or cure, but there was affirmation of his company and truth beside me.  I walked home that night in the knowledge that God is with us.

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
― Teresa of Ávila

It took time.  Things are ongoing, but from the time I was anointed onwards improvements which I could not have envisaged in the days, weeks and months before began to take place and it was like coming home to a body I recognised.  My illness came quite suddenly and swept away my health, recovery takes longer.  Yet the more my body has been battered and shown me it can recover from this bit by bit, the more convinced I become of the link between body and soul.  The pain of one marks the other and we walk with our wounds. The sacraments are our balm and where we meet Christ most closely is on the cross.

I do not want to suffer.  As St Thomas More said "I am not the stuff that saints are made of".  Suffering makes me afraid.  Yet I know it also made me grow.  Sometimes we only remember what the value of life is when it feels we are being locked out and we can see all the beauty within. God is so good: he does not give us more than we can bear.

What do I do with my experiences now? How do I live by them and how do I serve God through them?  The truth is that I do not know, but I start by returning here to tell you a little of them in the hope that some might still wish to listen to the voice of this weary but grateful traveller.

I started this blog when I was 24 and full of so many ideas; so much idealism and hope of love.  Life changes us.  Those elements are not gone.  I hope some of them have been realised and others have been tempered and absorbed by other elements of life.  I turned 30 this month and there is much to be hopeful and excited about in life and in faith.  God is real. He is here and we can always reach him if we are willing to stretch out a hand and let the goodness come from Him to us (Matthew 9:20).

Thank you to all who prayed for me.  Thank you for remembering me in an hour of need.  I needed you.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin