|In this time of uncertainty and fear, we are sustained by stories of those we love. May this reflection from Barbara Linder- and the children’s art and voices- lift our spirits and help us find our way. -Renée|
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom then should I be afraid?
When evil men attacked me to destroy my life
It was they, my enemies, who stumbled and fell.
These words from Psalm 27 sustained me 22 years ago when I faced uterine cancer. From which God did, in fact, heal me. It was my enemy (cancer) that was destroyed, not me.
These words have also sustained me for the past 12 months as I faced a different enemy. This physical enemy was not as easily diagnosed. But it did feel like it was destroying my life. I lost my ability to walk more than a block or two without pain. My GI tract was so disturbed that I couldn’t eat enough to maintain my weight. During one week in June I had six invasive tests done to determine if my cancer had recurred. The tests were negative (rejoicing!) but I still couldn’t walk or eat. Finally in October, hip replacement was prescribed as a possible path to relieving the back & hip pain and inability to walk.
Was I afraid? Indeed. From March through November as I sat in the garden to pray each morning I rehearsed my fears with God: How will I be able to handle a 12 hour bus/flight/ferry/car trip to visit my sister and niece on the West Coast? Will I be able to sit through a concert in Milwaukee? What about our plans to care for the grandkids in May? And on and on. Wondering how I would handle a future situation. Each time I started down that anxious rabbit hole God would call me back saying, But what about right now? And I would have to admit that now was OK. Now was good. I learned during this time, as I settled into my morning prayer, to breathe in slowly saying Now and breathe out slowly saying Here. Over and over until I could gratefully just be present to the now and here. And release the future, for the moment, to God.
Somehow, quite miraculously in my mind, having hip replacement surgery not only gave me back my ability to walk, but my GI distress is gone! So I’m joyfully eating as well as walking! My doctor can’t explain it and, frankly, seems skeptical of hip surgery curing gastric distress. All I can do is to say Thank You.
Now we are, all of us, in a new and different fearful place and time. A time in which more is unknown than is known. A time in which fear and anxiety have a stranglehold on us. Doubt, despair, darkness, sadness. How are we to live in such a time as this? I was reminded as I prayed a couple days ago of our 2007 Advent season in which we focused on the Prayer of St. Francis. Particularly I remembered the video we created using our children’s art and voices. Hearing the children encouraging me to sow love, faith, hope, light and joy lifted my spirit.
May your spirit also be lifted as you listen. And may each of us find our way through fear to this childlike stance of trust in God who is Now. Here.
Service 3/22: Fear, Change, and Anointing
Order of Service 3/22