He went out not knowing whether he went. Hebrews 8. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 1
I’m at the beach and in picking up an old Bible, I found a Litany of Healing. It was sent by Father Witt, priest at the Episcopal convent in New York. I visited the convent for respite, every Wednesday after packing the children off to school, I departed for a day of silence and prayer. I miss Father Witt and the nuns. They were compassionate during my year of searching when I stopped seeing patients and started writing and painting.
It was at the convent that I saw the burning bush. Just outside my window, early one morning, late fall. I peered out the window, looking but not seeing my future and lo and behold a small bush caught fire and blazed for all to see. That miracle revealing itself, did it really exist or was it a slant of light from the sun catching fire and reflecting into the leaded window from which I gazed? I’m pretty sure I know what you think and also pretty sure I know what I think. So let’s just leave it at that.
I’m looking everywhere for miracles this year, aren’t you? God grants them daily in the rotation of the earth around the sun, a falling star, the beat of your heart, the implantation of a fertilized egg which forms a baby. Seems a burning bush would be nothing compared to these. But I said that I would leave it and I will.
The Litany of Healing was sent on January 15, 2002. Thirteen years ago! The words beautifully written implore God to make our bodies a temple of your presence; grant your healing grace to the sick, lonely, anxious or despondent; give us knowledge of your will and awareness of your presence; mend broken relationships, bless health care providers, grant to the dying peace and a holy death and uphold by the grace and consolation of your Holy Spirit those who are bereaved. You are the Lord who does wonders. I wish I’d thought of that, don’t you? The Lord who does wonders, who heals the sick and comforts the bereaved. Make my body your temple, Lord. Lift, me up and burn that bush one more time. Please God, I’m scared. I’m not scared. I want to know your plan for 2015 but know I’ll have to wait.
Next weekend I travel to a church to read Momma, Who’s Babygod? Remember the fight I had with my daughter when she was six years old? Dirty pajamas and clean sweats and you don’t love me all you do is yell! I’m taking my own advice and praying to Babygod, is that Jesus? and asking Him to cover me with his love and assurance.
Breathing in I have arrived, breathing out I am home, in the here, in the now. Only with the in breath and the out breath am I fully aware. There is no new year, there is no future, there is only life with not knowing, there is only now. I thank Tich Nhat Hahn, my children and Babygod for reminding me of that everyday.
It is recommended that I enroll in a drug trial. It starts next week. It’s a double blind, placebo controlled study. A research design I am familiar with and have used as an Investigator. The drug is FDA approved for metastatic cancer but not for those who are at risk for metastasis. If I enroll, and I’m sure I will, I’ll be randomized into one of two groups, placebo versus active drug. The active drug is toxic and causes mouth sores, GI distress, multiple severe, unpleasant side effects. Although I feel exceptionally lucky that there is a clinical trial in my treatment center, I don’t really want to be in either group, placebo or active drug. I want to be free and clear, healed and healthy. I want another burning bush blazing, lifting this blight.
Centering myself, sometimes through tears, I remember that I have arrived, I am home, in the here, in the now. Nothing else awaits including the future.
As I look out to the dock I see a great blue heron perched, watching all morning. Herons symbolize patience, wisdom and immobility, Attributes I aspire to achieve as I enter 2015 looking for nothing and expecting everything. Their shrewd intelligence, resourcefulness and determination make them graceful and successful. They can swoop, wrestle and swallow a gopher with very little effort. I’ll take this proud bird as the symbol of the fight on which I am embarking.