I am a prairie girl so I get it when Christ uses images from the land to illustrate his point. Today’s Gospel of the grain of wheat dying makes sense to me. Without giving up our life, we are faced with not bearing fruit–with not becoming who we are meant to be. It is in the letting go, the surrendering in our darkest moments, that bring life. No matter how troubled your soul is, Jesus says we must let God be glorified in these circumstances and drink of the cup before us. The readings today are about suffering and God’s promise of assistance. They seem to fit with my life right now.
On Friday I checked into the hospital for a medical procedure that I had been told would last about an hour. In my mind, I created a scenario that looked very different from reality. Two days later I am still gingerly recovering but optimistic that the seed that is planted continues to grow with thanksgiving. The miracles of medicine really are amazing.
The day started with a pair of nurses who clearly did not comprehend the image of the grain of wheat dying. It was however the one low point of the day. One of the two created an awkward situation by some bizarre and borderline unprofessional behaviour by freaking out about the choice of my accompanier who to put the nurse at ease, I asked to leave the room. She was capable at her job but how she carried it out created unnecessary havoc for her colleague, my friend, and me. As someone who coaches people for a living, she has no idea how selfish and obnoxious she was being. Instead of helping to calm me for surgery, she upset me. She could not die to her own fears and insecurities and in the end, did me harm. I see it sometimes in my line of work–the person is so focused on what she needs that the student’s needs suffer. When we make something about us that really should be about someone else, it does not matter how good our skills are. We have missed the boat entirely. The fact that this nurse remained clueless about this bothers me enough to write about it and to follow it up once I am well enough.
The rest of the day was not easy but I found myself held by prayers and angels all around me. The procedure ended up being about three hours. Because I was awake, I could tell the doctor was challenged by what he needed to do. At one point, he told his team that he was in this for the long haul and so they better settle in too. He had promised me that he would not give up and he was remaining true to his word. He let his fears and frustrations die and put my wellness first.
When the procedure got uncomfortable, one of the nurses took my hand and held it. She spoke encouraging words to me. When I glanced at the clock I wondered how I was going to make it much longer. Both my arms, raised above my head, had fallen asleep. The nurses came to my rescue and repositioned them. These angels of mercy were dying for me, with me. They made a challenging situation compassionate.
I knew exactly when things shifted for the doctor. The room lightened up immediately and the tension dissipated. We were almost done and I breathed a sigh of relief. He discovered that there was still one more thing he needed to do. Mustering up that courage planted deep inside of me, I felt the wire re-enter my body for a final time. Another x-ray showed that he was now finally done.
A kind and compassionate nurse came over to me and took my hand, saying that I had done well. I was exhausted and relieved. The doctor was very pleased with the outcome. Now I know that in the darkness of my body my liver will grow in order to be reborn. Like that grain of wheat, it must become something new and necessary.
There is a darkness to this health journey that cannot win. Yet there is also another darkness that must be present–the one that gives birth to new creation. This darkness transforms into something amazing. May the seeds that are being planted create in me a strong body, a clean heart and a new spirit within me.