Indeed, the test of a person is in tribulation! It just so happens that this is my current situation. I am being tested “in my flesh” as never before. Much pain, alleviated by the limited effect of pain-killers, and with it, the fear that I will run out of pain-killers! Necessity of staying in bed with my ankle raised as much as possible. Idleness. Inability to stay seated or standing more than half an hour, owing to the pain. Inability to make just one step without the help of a walker or crutches. Knowing that this is the way it has to be for the next 9 weeks.
It’s time to practice what I preach: confidence in God. In his providence. Confidence and creativity. It takes a lot of it to fill the hours of each day! But the two work together. Staying in bed with my ankle raised is of the utmost importance, since upon this depends the proper healing of my ankle and foot, mangled by a 4-hour surgery. By nature, this is mission impossible for me, but as it turns out, it is only when I am lying down with my ankle raised that the pain is actually bearable, such that my pain is precisely the factor that ensures that I do what I must do! Creativity works better allied with positive attitude. I choose to view my situation as one of privilege – the privilege of a forced 12-week vacation, providing me with an opportunity to do things I can never do. Like read several books that I’ve wanted to read for the longest time. Read the Vancouver Sun on a daily basis, cover to cover. What a luxury! Pray the liturgy of the Hours in their entirety. Pray the rosary, nice and slow, lingering on each mystery, every day. Reading the biblical texts for each day’s mass, as I have often suggested that others do! A daily routine of gentle exercise, to try and get my ankle and foot moving again. Best of all, the psalms and the canticles of the Old and New Testaments. They all inspire me, but there is one in particular that just seems to fit my current situation. Let me share a part of it with you. It is from the “canticle of Habakkuk”. After evoking his distress – “Decay invades my bones, my legs tremble beneath me.” – the psalmist has this to say: “yet, even though the fig tree blossom not, nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, still will I rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God. God, my Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights.” These words just make my day.
Together with the myriad of little things that make up my daily routine, and the remembrance that so many people are praying for me, these words get me through each day. I take this opportunity to be so bold as to ask that you not let up on prayer for me, so that I can truly know that “so many people are praying for me.” I take this opportunity as well to thank all those who have expressed support in so many ways. Your gestures are like crocuses that pierce through the snow and put smiles on our faces.
Finally, one of my deeper joys in this time of tribulation proceeds from the ever-present conviction that I have that anything, and especially tribulation, can be piled onto the wings of our prayer, so as to give it momentum. Every day, I deliberately, intentionally place my tribulations on the wings of my prayer for my endless list of people for whom I pray, among them of course, the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Such that I can say that you are the prime beneficiaries of my present plight!
One last thing: please understand that I am unable to respond promptly to emails and phone messages, since I am unable to sit up long enough to open them. But I will get to yours, eventually!
God bless us all in our approach to the “testing” season of Lent….