Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This N' That

The living room finally looks a little like Christmas ~ greens and lights and manger scene figures here and there.  This is the first of the last four years in which I have had the slightest interest in a tree ~ and it would be cheering, late at night, since I'm sleeping in the living room ~ but with the kids' finals and The Quiet Husband's insane work project (he worked a literal 24 hours last Sunday) and, well, me ~ no tree yet.  We have scheduled tomorrow afternoon as tree purchase time.  We'll see.


I've learned to make no commentary to the plastic surgeon's nurse.  The last two weeks, when she asked how I was, I sort of told the truth about my challenges, and was immediately treated to a firm lecture on what I should and should not be doing.  I guess she takes her role as an educator seriously, but all I was looking for were a couple of words of affirmation and commiseration.  I forget that there are people with no listening skills whatever.  Henceforth, I'm limiting my responses to "Fine." 


I'm pondering Christmas.  Years 1 and 3, we simply swept out of town. Year 2, I was doing my student pastor gig, and found myself reading the Lucan narrative to hundreds of people at the midnight service. Numb, practically catatonic.  Relief came with a 6:00 am flight south.  Now we have arrived at Year 4, I have a congregation to consider, and my situation will keep us in town.  I guess it's a Just Do It situation.  I don't feel the despair that I have in the past, but I'd still prefer to skip the entire month.


I am genuinely stunned by how tired I still am. I suppose that I'm healing so well because my body is directing about 99% of its energy to that task.  Doesn't leave me a lot for anything else.


Ignatius of Loyola is an outstanding companion for the physically incapacitated.


  1. That's a pretty outstanding recommendation for Ignatius. Maybe it's time for me to learn more.
    The whole Christmas thing is full of freight. While my situation was certainly different from yours (both the recent past and the present), I did find that applying myself to bringing a sense of the holy to others actually brought one to me, somehow, last year.
    I'm praying for you, daily, and that will continue.

  2. Thank you, SB, for both the prayers and the affirmation -- which I am so hoping will be true for me as well.

  3. Dear Robin - while I have not been through the same physical and emotional challenges you have been through, I also get a lot of inspiration from Ignatius.

    In my graduate work (Humanities) I learned a lot about him. I suppose because my professor had married a woman from Spain and all his married life he spent 3 months in Spain, traveling, researching, reading and absorbing. I was told the story that he had suffered a brutal breaking of both of his legs and was confined to bed to heal. For a soldier and a young, energetic man that was extremely difficult.

    But from that year long confinement grew the Examen and his dedication to founding the Jesuit order. What an amazing way to understand pain, loss, suffering. Not as something necessary or done by God to hurt us, but in the way God can help us create more relationship, more love, more life, more goodness. Even out of events and situations that seem hopeless, and that are, quite literally, extremely painful.

    I don't think that minimizes the pain. I think of it as honoring the pain. Ignatius' pain was immense, and fundamental to the radical shift in direction that his life took.

    When I am experiencing searing pain, physical or emotional, it is a miracle and a help when I can remember that something radical may be happening in my life.

    You and your family have been much on my mind this week. I'm not sure why. but I keep seeing the smiling faces of your children, and the pictures of you getting ordained, and the images of your family in Florida, and I am moved to say a prayer and feel connected.

    It is miraculous this connection that can grow out of something so seeming tenuous as a small box on a computer screen!