I spent a second day in one week in an ER. With continued breathlessness, dizziness, numbness and shaking throughout my body, after nearly passing out this morning I headed back to a hospital with little answers, followed by the blessing of an internist who had many. Finally, I have medication to heal (what was chronic asthma exacerbated by acid reflux and a sinus infection, plus really bad allergy season) and food in my belly, both lovingly delivered to me by my husband.
Today was the oddest kind of blessings–in prayer and in the painful breathlessness of tired lungs aching for someone to listen and an answer to be found. I came out of it. I am alive. I am humbled by the community of care that was showered upon me throughout the day and God’s presence like a thread woven through it all–reflected viscerally in a ribbon of light above my bed in the hospital. Some may call that delusion–I will continue to call it grace.
In this second hospital visit, same as the first (just a little bit louder and a whole lot worse), more blood was taken, holes poked into my already bruised inner elbow. In trying to take my blood oxygen, with no success, the nurse pricked me in four places trying to get enough of a sample to test. First in my inner elbow and then on both my wrists.
As the nurse pricked my wrists, first the left, then the right, I felt a flood of pain like an explosion. I remembered, in that moment, my childhood prayers and fantasies of stigmata–I would beg God at night, by my bedside, for this proof of God in my life and my value in his universe.
I felt that pain radiating through my wrists today–not necessarily more particularly particular than any of the other pains in my life–and I realized the fullness of my naiveté and ego in those childhood prayers.
We are given our own crosses, our own very particular “stigmatas” which will come to us throughout life without request, without want, and embody a very real opportunity to sit with Jesus, if we choose, in his pain. We don’t need to pray for the pain, the pain will come as sure as breath, and we can only pray for enough God-in-us to bear it, and be better, not worse, for it.
My wrists still hurt tonight as swelling and bruising reminders of my foolish wish and my own life’s real pains. It is also a reminder of what God asks of me in my particular life, my particular experience, my particular brands of pain. I am, we are, living this life that needs no piercing proof of both its pain and God’s love and endurance to be with us in that pain.
I write this now (in both my post on the site and an email to those in my faith community) as a thanks to the human embodiment of God’s love in my life today and as a prayer to those who are in need of the blessings of God’s love in this embodied world of His today and all days.
Thanks be to God. And thanks be to the loving kindness of His beautiful and care-taking humans.