Monday, March 24, 2008

Learning Patience

I know that this disease is going to take things from me, that it will keep me from doing some things, but there are days I really hate this disease. I had my fourth round of chemo on March 12, and I realized that there was a good chance that the affects of the treatment would be with me during Holy Week. I took off work last Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday as a normal day off I thought I could get plenty of rest and be able to participate in the liturgy through the Triduum. The days of the Triduum are without a doubt my favorite days of the year. I look forward to these days, especially the Easter Vigil. I almost made it. Thursday and Friday I felt pretty good, and was able to take part in the liturgy. I even preached on Good Friday. Saturday I slept in a bit, and felt rested and ready for the Vigil. I particularly wanted to be there when the folks my RCIA class came into the Church. Saturday afternoon, out of the blue, I got sick, really sick. I was, to say the least, distraught. I was also determined that I would not miss this Vigil. Over my wife’s unspoken but obvious objections we went to church to celebrate the Vigil. I was determined to serve in my role as deacon for the Vigil celebration. Sitting in the sacristy, however, it became more and more obvious to me and to those around me that I was not going to be able to function as deacon in this celebration. Practically in tears I admitted that I could not go out on the altar (even though I tried to convince the priest and the other deacon that if I passed out they could just roll me under a pew and keep going) and had to sit this one out. It was finally agreed that I would vest, but stay in the sacristy until time for the baptisms and confirmations for the RCIA group, after which I would return to the sacristy. Afterward my wife told me was proud of me. I asked why, and she said she was proud because I did the right thing, I didn’t stubbornly bull ahead and make myself worse. She was, of course, right. Had I forced the issue and tried to fill my role as deacon I would have just been in the way. The fact that it was so obvious that I was sick would have been a distraction. I missed being able to fill my role, but perhaps God is using this to help me learn patience, patience with this disease, patience with my limitations, patience with myself. This is not the first thing this illness has taken from me, and it definitely won’t be the last, but with the help of God I am slowly learning to live in these new limitations. Maybe I am finally learning to be a patient patient.

Deacon John
Monday in the Octave of Easter
March 24, 2008

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