The wind blows in all kinds of directions and we may lose our way or become disoriented. I try to keep my gaze on the Son as much as possible. In both yesterday’s and today’s Gospels, Christ invites Peter to follow him. Two simple words are his invitation. Follow me!
Who or what do you follow? What is your go-to coping mechanism? When I was in the hospital, I reacted badly to the narcotics I was on. One afternoon, I needed to close my eyes and sleep. Each time my lids drooped shut, red ants crawled all over me. My eyes would spring open and I would breathe rapidly, fighting off the sleep. Inevitably, I would drift off again and startle awake. After a few hallucinations, I found my way to Jesus and prayed. I slept serenely after that.
On a funnier note, I had vivid dreams for a few nights. The first one involved me gathering up some Jewish children and telling them I would hide them from the Nazis. We were running up flights of stairs and then suddenly we were in a huge ballroom. The children and their families (who had somehow appeared) were thrilled at the potential accommodations but I told them this was not the place to hide. We ran down a long flight of stairs on the opposite end of the hall that we had entered and at once, everyone became adults and we were in a bar. The SS Police saw me and pointed at the package I had in my hands, crying out I had a bomb, they raised their guns to shoot me. I shook my head, yelling out that it was not a bomb but a drum and that everyone should dance. I pulled out an African drum and started playing it wildly as others danced. I was hardly into the song when I told everyone that we would continue just as soon as I peed. The real me snapped awake and threw off my covers. As I swung my legs over the bed somewhat gingerly, I heard things go crashing off my bedside table. The health care aide was fantastic as I told her what had happened and apologized profusely for scattering water and ice all over the place. A quick prayer for a less eventful sleep curtailed dreams that night.
Later in the week, I had another crazy episode but I could not quite figure out what was happening. I was a bit agitated and seemingly depressed. My elephant toes hurt. My legs had ballooned to what seemed to me three times their normal size. I had no ankles or knees left. A wild and vicious dog seemed to be snapping at me from behind. I had no idea what was going on but I knew it was dark. I sent an email to a few friends and asked them to pray. A little while later I sent a text to another friend in the know and explained that I was not sure what was going on and she responded by suggesting I was on a narcotic crash. That made so much sense to me since I had cut down on the heavy painkillers. The incident passed without too much more havoc to my spirit.
Following Jesus took on new meaning to me during my hospital stay. I was not always able to pray as much as I wanted, especially under the fog of the narcotics, but I still managed to seek Christ when I could. Picking up my cross, or perhaps dragging it would be more accurate some days, I followed the One who has been here before, whose blood leaves a trail that is easy to track. One step in front of the other will get me to where I must go. I will follow the One who knows my fate. God has this.