All those years it didn’t show and no one had to know.
Pain, yes, but no one can see another’s pain.
Now, some days I limp or have use my cane,
Food falls off my fork. I wear my napkin like a bib.
I ask for help and grind my teeth behind the smile.
Must I say “No, I can’t” after “Yes, I can”?
“Can we reschedule? I’m in the hospital.”
“I can’t help–my back is in spasms.”
“I can’t come–it’s a bad arthritis flare.”
I want to be whole and healthy,
I want to walk for miles on Your green and flowering earth,
Or just to move more easily.
I want a simple boo-boo to simply heal.
Instead a hole in my elbow requires surgeons and stitches,
Bandages that won’t stay on and packing with silver
And lots of poking with the wooden end of a Q-tip.
An infection requires 3 days of IV vancomycin in room 1342
And 8 days of cleocin pills 3 times a day with lots of yogurt.
All because the dog tripped me months ago
And when I fell I banged my elbow.
I feel fragile these days.
My soul is weary.
I feel ashamed
Of illness, of frailty, of looking older than I am,
Of vulnerability, of dependence, of need, of fear.
My soul cries out to You
And so the word “Acceptance” appears on the blackboard in my brain
As I lie in the MRI machine with my face 2 inches from the rounded wall
And my ankle is stretched in a way it doesn’t go
That makes it still hurt a week later.
And so in an article in an email,
I read about Passivity:
The less I do, the less I commit, the less I expect of myself,
The less I’ll disappoint or feel incompetent.
I know why I sit.
And so I read about Resilience:
The ability of something to return to its original form
After being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent.
Terry reads “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou as liturgy Sunday.
“Just like the moon and the suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes spring high,
Still I rise…
Leaving nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear…”
And so I walk for 15 minutes at Bicentennial Garden
And I hear the birds and see the flowers
And look into the eyes of other walkers.
I receive the smiles and greetings of those I pass.
I gather in Your beauty,
Revel in Your gentle breeze,
Feel the muscles in my legs move
And send blessings to my malformed feet.
I move out into Your Grace.
And so I say “Yes” when my daughter says “I need you.”
I say “Yes, I can do that today.”
And so I will drive to Raleigh to be with Maggie,
The embodiment of Your joy and wonder and love.
My God, I thank you.
My Spirit thanks you.
My Soul is full of Your Grace.
(The title is from a chant by Isabella Bates on the CD “Sound Faith.”)