It's c-c-c-cold! And windy!
What a lovely day for a walk. It has been more than six weeks since I've been able to walk without considerable back pain. Yes, back pain. I feel like a 150 year old woman. The simplest tasks have been nearly impossible.
Until today. We ventured to the woods, walking around the entire perimeter, gathering dried flowers, berries and greenery to adorn our Advent wreath and mantle.
So, what effected this miraculous transformation? Don't laugh...confession. Not exactly a sacramental confession, but certainly the kind that heals the soul (the sacrament will follow this weekend!) Let me explain:
The past several weeks have been...bad. Struggling everyday to find joy in the midst of pain. Sometimes succeeding. Holding onto those days and praying for relief. Accepting the cross and then begging God to take it back. And slowly, ever so slowly relinquishing joy. Letting it go. Because that is how it happens. It is never stolen, only thrown away. At least in my case.
Do I share these feelings? My despondency, my weakness? Not on your life! I will vanquish. I will overcome. I will help you...but I don't need help from anyone else...
Problem overlaps problem. Financial issues, a husband who is putting in 15 hours a day 6 days a week, physical incapacity and an elderly grandmother recently hospitalized. With stress, pain accordingly, increases. My attitude and my treatment of the ones I love the most, becomes selfish.
And so I work harder. Pray harder. Suffer more. But I avoid confession. My sins certainly don't seem mortal, though death and decay would aptly describe how I felt inside.
Sunday. A break in the clouds! "Soul, bedeck thyself with gladness!" I could hear our Lord whisper these words in my heart. Joy! I must be joyful, I must embrace joy! I slept well that night.
Monday, the battle begins anew. That lovely interlude of peace lasted long enough for me to catch my breath before the enemy's approach. The enemy? My will and the devil's snares. My cooperation with the Evil One's intentions and my choice to spread misery by imposing my will upon others, primarily my dear husband, revealed an ugliness I thought I had vanquished years ago.
I became unkind. Manipulative. Vindictive.
Roger's response? This tired, overworked and underpaid precious man? Patience, love, encouragement...a hot cup of coffee with my favorite creamer the morning after I had been the most vile person ever. More prayers and tears. A humble confession to a couple dear friends. A complete and heartfelt confession and apology to my dear husband. A good night's sleep (though not long enough!)
The agonizing physical pain of the past few weeks? All but gone. Perhaps it will only last a day. Perhaps it's gone for good. Either way, it is truly amazing the way the state of our "heart and soul" can exacerbate physical suffering.
So...I'm praising God for His boundless mercy. Begging His forgiveness for my weakness and thanking Him for allowing me to recognize how truly weak I am without Him. Thanking Him for the company of dear friends, a beloved husband and children who still love and trust me, despite my shortcomings.
I'm not super-woman. Thanks for the lesson, Abba! I remember...Confession 8:45 a.m. this Sunday.