I have been out of commission most of this week with fever and chills. Now I have a hacking cough setting in. I have slept away most of the week. In my waking hours, at various odd times of the day such as 3 am, I have been thinking deep thoughts. In today’s First Reading from Esther, I resonated with Queen Esther who says she is alone and has no help but from God alone. I have a host of people who are willing to help but I was simply too ill to make an effort. One of the trickiest aspects of being single is being sick and out of it. I have had some weird dreams and spent some time wondering what it will be like when I am more and more unwell.
As if on cue, CancerCare called me today to ask if I had made a decision regarding further chemo treatment. However, in a Queen Esther moment, I believe God has been made known to me and given me courage. I said I was not yet completely sure but I did not think I would undergo further treatment at this time. In all these hours of silence which on one level had seemed so prayerless, my spirit had quieted enough to reach out without words to the One who knows my future. I heard myself respond to the nurse and then felt deep peace wash over me. Courage had returned. The Gospel Reading from Matthew today is one of my favourites and has shown up at various points when I need an answer. I had not read any of the daily readings this week and then here was this one tonight when I finally opened the missal. A confirmation of the rumblings that have been stirring for a couple of weeks.
This bug that came on suddenly has caused me to realize that I have some planning to do. My H1N1 buddy moved away a few years ago and I never replaced him. We were supposed to call each other if we were ever too sick to care for ourselves. Both single at the time, we promised that we would be in touch if there was a need. By the time I was well enough to reach out to friends because I would not be attending a meeting on Wednesday, I was no longer alone. People reached out as they always do. I need to be a kinder person to myself but I need to have a smarter plan.
God responds to our moaning even when we are not sure that we are actually praying. I may not have called out strongly as Esther did but God still heard me. As God has always done, a response and confirmation came. Now I must learn the lesson at the end of the Gospel today: do to others as you would have them do to you–except that I need to allow others to do to me what I would do for others. I am going to need to work on that a bit better.
Have you ever had an answer to prayer that you realized you never thought you asked for?
What do you need courage for at this moment in your life?
You will not give a snake when we ask for a fish, O Creator. You will give us courage and wisdom. You will hear us and answer us. You are with us each step. Thanks be to you, Holy One. Amen.