The Bunion-Freedom Saga Continues
Remember that foot surgery I said wasn’t going to be a big deal, even though it was going to hurt REALLY badly for a bit? The pain was surprisingly mild the day of the surgery. I was even able to write about it while in a minimally medicated state in the post My View from a Room a week ago. The pain didn’t stay mild, and I stopped being able to think well enough to write. By day two post-surgery the pain had definitely kicked into high-octane-not- laughing-at-the doc’s-warning-anymore-pain.
Don’t Waste the Pain
There was plenty of pain to offer up, and pain was my main prayer. It’s a comfort to be consecrated to Mary and know that all my “prayers, joys, works and sufferings” belong to her and she guides them to Our Lord in the most perfect way. It’s a comfort to know that pain isn’t wasted, that there is a good that can come from it when it’s united to the suffering of Christ.
During that first week I said the Divine Office as I remembered throughout the day, even though I wasn’t able to process the words as I read along. At least I was there, I was giving that time to God. There were moments words spoke fleetingly to my heart. Mostly I was just reading words and struggling to be present in the present moment.
I didn’t regret the offering I had made to God, (see My View from a Room). I reasserted it: ” Lord, please accept this pain as a gift of love from me. Let me take on the pain that someone else can’t handle. I’ll still love you. I can handle it, with Your grace.” There was pain, but I didn’t blame God for it, I didn’t love Him less because of it. I didn’t feel like He was personally making me hurt. I believe that it all things pass through His Good and Loving Hands and He can bring beauty out of anything if we only can manage to cooperate with His grace.
The Grand Unwrapping, Oops!
At my one week follow-up after the surgery there was a The Grand Unwrapping. First off was the Ace bandage, removed for the three x-rays. Then into the exam room to sit in the special chair that looks like it should be at the dentist office. The assistant came in to unwrap the thick layer of wide gauze wrapping from behind toes to up my ankle. I covered my eyes, not sure I wanted to see what was underneath but periodically peeking through my fingers. As she carefully stripped away the layers, the pain lessened and my foot felt relieved; it felt set free!
Then the final layer of a softer wrapping just a layer or two thick. I still had my eyes closed. The quick peeks through fingers showed me the violent scene. My step-mother kept saying how good it looked, and it was okay for me to look at it, so I finally manned up and opened my eyes. I was surprised at how much was going on all over my foot. It looked like a battle field. My ankle felt like it had been released from a straight jacket. I think it had a party of happiness!
As soon as the surgeon came in she came over to my side and said, “I’m so sorry! You’re bandage was wrapped too tight and that caused you more pain.” I was so surprised I didn’t even think of the long list of questions that came up later as I was laying in bed with my foot above my heart once again.
Asking the Question: “God, Do You Hate Me”
It was a big day out. We went from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy drive-through. I was practically climbing over my step-mother on the driver’s side when the clerk said it couldn’t be filled for two days. Tears were coming to my eyes and I was trying not to hyperventilatie. “But the doctor just gave me this prescription! I had surgery a week ago, the other medicine is gone, I’m still in really bad pain!” After looking at the computer some more, she said we could come back later that day to pick it up.
By the end of this stressful day, I was in a lot of pain and just couldn’t stop sobbing. I began talking to God through my sobs, “Why do these things happen to me? I try to do some little thing to get better, have less pain, be able to be more physically active, work more. Do you hate me? Why do You hate me?”
Even in pain, feeling angry and scared and worried and plenty of pain, as soon as those words went through my mind, I knew they were a lie.
“Okay, I know that’s not true. I know you love me, Lord. The Bible, Your word, tells me over and over again about your great love for me, even for me. I have experienced your love in prayer. I know that you are real, and that your love for me is real. But Lord, why me? Why this extra suffering that was unnecessary, that shouldn’t have happened?”
We Are Precious in His Sight, He Loves Us
What I do know is that He loves us so much that He hung on a cross for us, after being whipped, tormented, tortured, betrayed. He could have stopped any of that suffering at any time. But in His great love for us He entered into even our human suffering and sanctified it. By uniting our suffering to His, by offering our little pains and annoyances and large pains and sorrows and grief to Him with all the love we can muster in our tiny little hearts, He can bring something beautiful out of it. We may not ever see the beauty ourselves, but it is an eternal, beautiful mystery that we can’t begin to comprehend.
We have no idea how our brief moments of love transform the world around us. We just have to trust, hope in Him who delights in us. We keep loving just as though we were scraping the sides of the bowl after mixing up the cake batter, carefully swiping to get each little bit of the sweetness into the pan to be transformed into a sweet treat. We have to let the insides of our hearts be scraped to get the last bits of love out to be shared, to be fruitful.
A Love Letter From God, Isaiah 43:2-5
Should you pass through the waters, I shall be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer, and the flame will not burn you.
For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I have given Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Since I regard you as precious, since you are honoured and I love you, I therefore give people in Gfor you, and nations in return for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I shall bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west.
Scripture was from the New Jerusalem Bible as posted at Catholic.org