Every season of my life seems to have its weirdness, but the difference with the current season is that it's the kind of thing that I can and do talk about freely with lots of people. Health issues are like that. Emotional, spiritual and relational issues are not like that. So in a way, this is a great relief, because I can ask tons of folks to pray for me and tell them why, and they do.
Perhaps it is precisely because of all the prayers being offered for me that I find myself surrounded by new ways, new realizations, new grace. I need to try to catalog these. (Look up at the blog title -- Naru Hodo; I write, therefore I understand. That's the deal now.)
(In no particular order.) I can articulate to myself and to others, "I need to talk about this. Listen to me on this point for a bit." See, even as I'm writing that it's like seeing a new piece of furniture in my living room and wondering where it came from.
I realize that part of my loving relationship with others is to correct or direct them when they don't know something, and I have a better idea of it. I can actually do that as an expression of love, and not of impatience, grumpiness, arrogance, blame or any of the other negatives that I always felt like directing others required or elicited. I realize that I am actually grossly at fault when it is my place to direct or correct someone, and I don't do it.
I realize that God asks of me holy indifference. My life was created by Him, and exists enveloped in His love for me to serve, working with Him in His plan. Because it is His plan, I do not understand everything as we go along. I have very strong preferences for how I would like some things to be. But God asks me to trust Him to the degree that I will leave everything in His hand and allow the choice of directive to be His. And that I refrain from bitterness when that involves letting go of control of the things that strike at my dearest preferences. And strike He does. (He has no problem correcting and directing me, and He is all love. He calls me to be the same. See above.)
I realize that every piece of the service entailed in my daily duty is a precious way for me to participate in working for the salvation of souls. When I pick up the laundry basket and carry it up the stairs because it is part of what is before me to do, and I choose that over sitting down and being introspective and brooding (and calling it 'contemplative'), that action of love is an offering that can be rendered prayer for love and grace to enter someone's life. The external works don't matter as much as the disposition and the relationship with God, so that love is lived.
I realize that when I open my mouth to speak about God, I am always telling stories. I don't mean parables, I mean giving testimony to what God has done in my life. I don't think about doing it or calculate it. It's just what comes out. Instinctively, it seems, this is what I have to tell people. And I guess this is why I write stuff here, because it gives me practice in forming my thoughts.
I realize that illness is about far more than illness. I'm not even sure I'm "sick," and I'm certainly undergoing no significant physical suffering. Because I've always been a healthy young punk with a side of misanthropic past, I've often thought that people who talked about their illnesses were just moaners, basically. Maybe this is me coming of age. Maybe this is me learning that suffering makes people vulnerable, which in turn means that the moment is ripe for them to reach out for God's help. Who, then will be the instrument ready, not to fill them with pep talks or worry with them or complain about doctors with them, but to demonstrate the care and love of Christ, and to look with them, calmly, into pain and fear and show them that Jesus gives peace? But not the obnoxious peace that is really just anesthesia. The peace that acknowledges the terror of being made weak, of requiring others to pick up our slack, of enduring uncertainty, of relinquishing control.
So, while the one doctor finally decides whether I need surgery, whether the lingering chance of cancer has any validity at all, and while I try to discern what to do about the fact that no one is addressing the weirdest question my body is posing, I realize I am really blessed with the chance to work out, somewhat openly, other issues that have woven their way into my life, starting back even more than a decade. A long, long time ago I hit upon an analogy for how my life felt: a spider web. The spider does one circle around, then casts a thread and goes to a new level. Same pattern, but always slightly bigger dimensions. And that "casting out" part... you know, I'm not really sure how they do it. How do they launch out into the next thing, when technically they are hanging out in space? It all boils down to building on what came before. I have been building on what came before like this, or aware of doing it, at least, for about 25 years. Most of it has been interior stuff that hasn't been appropriate to talk about on a public scale. There's something almost giddy for me in having something else going on, that people will ask me "Is anything new happening?" and I can tell them. I can't think of a single life lesson I've gone through that is like this -- even the medical issues of infertility are not the sort of thing one can do that with, aside from a support group.
Anyway, blah blah blah, I am grateful to God. I truly am. He only gives good things, even with the pain entailed. I know how deeply loved I am, and I know that eternity is what this life is all about.