awake at night

“When you awake in the night,
transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying:
‘Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you,
and to keep you company with all the Angels.'”

St. John Vianney


(sunset over the the gulf /Julie Cook / 2018)

The past several nights I have woken up around 2:30 AM—wide awake.
Hot.
Sweaty.
Uncomfortable.
Despite the AC running and my husband gently snoring, sleep for me is over.

My back aching with the slightest move–and now an aching neck and shoulder.

It hurts to turn, to roll, to twist.

Dreams, when they come, have been vivid, leaving me wondering and pondering.
Pondering much too much for such an unwelcoming hour.

Time passes with no relief as the numbers of the clock tick on and on.
No calm nor slumber.

Sleep, for me, is often elusive but more so as of late.

When the morning light comes, it is almost rude and unkind as
I find it harder and harder to get up since sleep now tries to
arrive right when it’s time to get up.

Exhausted and ill, I grouse at the day.

Last night, my brain turned on, my eyes popped open and it was only 2:30— my mind racing.
I ruminated on and on like a cow chewing cud over my latest odd dream.
Unresolved ancient issues or just the aching of a herniated disc?

I examine the past.
“NO”, I shout to my hyper-focused mind…” this is not the time!”

So my brain now toys with me, as the unending partial lyrics to a song
begin playing over and over as the earworm bores deeper into my brain.

“STOP”, I silently plead to my restless brain….”just let me rest”, I implore.

And so…I pray.
Focusing on that which is greater than the madness, greater than my weariness.
I offer myself over to You as a sacrifice…
Hear my prayers oh Lord…

“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”

Over and over I repeat the soothing words until I sense my mind and body quieting in unison.

“My Lord, I offer you myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
You have died for me, and I in turn make myself over to you.
I am not my own.
You have bought me; I will by my own act and deed complete the purchase.
My wish is to be separated from everything of this world;
to cleanse myself simply from sin; to put away from me even what is innocent,
if used for its own sake, and not for yours. I put away reputation and honor,
and influence, and power, for my praise and strength shall be in you.
Enable me to carry out what I profess.”

Bl. John Henry Newman, p. 135
An Excerpt From
Everyday Meditations

“do not seek the because”

“Do not seek the because –
in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.”

Anaïs Nin

dscn4375
(sea oats / Santa Rosa Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2016)

My life is no different from anyone else…
there are both highs and lows, ups and downs…

We all experience both the positive and negative moments in life…
as neither one discriminates…
Yet it seems that the negative moments will often last a life time…

Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean that we are immune from getting…
sad,
depressed,
discouraged,
hurt,
angry,
sick,
or at times, even despondent…

For believers, simply put, are human just like everyone else…
Believers are humans who believe in God as father and Omnipotent Creator
and that His son overcame Death in His resurrection…

And as humans, we just do the best we can getting through the day to day living of life.

But it is because of the very fact that we are believers that the non believers,
those who are angry at God or those who are merely skeptical…
begin pointing the naysaying finger at us when our lives becomes bleak or tragic

It is the age old accusatory “where is your God now” sort of rhetoric…

And if the truth be told, there are times we wonder the same question…
because we are, remember, human…
falible
weak
foible
sinful

And as I was laying on the floor again this morning, as the pain in my back and leg were again
a bit more than I could bear…
as yes, tears, rolled down the side of my face in pain and in frustration…
as my heart was equally as heavy for what Dad and I
have been dealing with these many weeks now….

I recalled having watched a You Tube video yesterday of a young man
waiting out in Houston at MD Anderson, waiting to undergo chemotherapy.

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=j_wXcwI4IjE

I don’t know this young man—but from the video I gathered he has some sort of cancer,
he is a young husband and father,
that he’s from Atlanta,
that he’s been waiting for chemo
and that he is an ardent believer in the Risen Christ…

He shared in the brief video his spiritual journey as of late–
the prayers offered for and over him.
The words that have been shared in multiple settings, all by different individuals,
but all the same words none the less.
He mentioned a couple of Psalms that he’d been keying in on…
Psalms that I wrote down with the intention of turning to those same Psalms today….

I was encouraged by his own journey.
That he obviously wanted to be healed…prayed for such…
but that he also knew that God is a Sovereign God…
and no matter what the outcome…it is in God’s hands…

And I was stuck that he is finding gratitude in and for all sorts of things…
He is being grateful and thankful even while life is proving dire, frustrating and grim…

As we are reminded that in all things we are to rejoice, offering our praise and thanksgiving.
That in those moments of struggle, pain and suffering we are to utter the words—we may not
necessarily feel them, but we can still utter them, allowing God to do with them as He may….

I was also reminded that it is in our distress that we are drawn closer to God.
We don’t seem to “need” Him as much when life is golden…
as we tend to neglect the relationship…
It isn’t until we find ourselves in dire straights that we cry out,
like a frightened child in the night,
and always, He answers in our despair, He is there…despite our fickled ways…
He will always be there…waiting…..

And it is during those hard-to-grasp situations of life and death that
skeptics and non believers alike circle like buzzards…
as they look for a Lazarus or an empty tomb—
and when they don’t see such,
they collectively shout
“HA, we knew it…imposter, phony, sham!”

So after reading a few posts by friends this morning, after reading those Psalms that young man sited,
after reading the words of both Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Malcolm Muggeridge each regarding
both life, living, dying and death…
I again, felt a peace…despite laying on the floor in the midst of despair…

I may be hurting both physically and emotionally.
I may shed tears of frustration, depression and sorrow….
but I will not be broken nor deterred for I have the promise of a Sovereign God.

I was told that I should build a post around the following comment I left this morning for a fellow blogger…my friend Wally…
Of which I suppose I already had to some degree…

Here is Wally’s morning’s post as my comment follows…

https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/faith-in-action-why-be-joyful-over-trials/

“it is hard and is not easy…but we are told time and time again—
to look to God in all things—good and bad, painful and joyful–
for God is found not only in the good, the joy and the happiness but He is there,
even more so, in the hard and difficult, the misery and suffering…
and this is where those who are not believers or those who reside in the anger
and sorrow keep wanting to point the finger of “if God is a God of Love and Omnipotent…
then why the hurting, why the unfairness, why the suffering…”

and it is there Wally in your very words and the words of James, so led by the Holy Spirit, that because God IS in everything…then we may find our HOPE!!

The things of this world…those good and those bad,
are all but temporary and they all point us back to Him—in our lack of knowledge and lack of true omnipotent knowledge, we cannot know, we cannot see how all things…
That all things, work together in God’s plan and God’s time—
yes there is Evil very much busy and very much at work…
working so very hard to counter the Benevolence of a Loving Creator…
but the thing is…despite the dark one’s vain attempts to derail us,
derailing our faith, our hope—
he can’t, he never can—
for his is a losing battle…
for our’s is the Victory in Christ Jesus!”

All of this brings us back, almost full circle,
to the the beginning of this post with the quote byAnaïs Nin—
for there is no understanding, no explanation, no reasoning, no answers, no because…
to be found in the Love offered to us by our God….

stupor

D004
(Dans un café, also called l’Absinthe / Edgar Degas / Musée d’Orsay)

You see this lady?
The one who looks to be in perhaps some sort of stupor or inebriated state?
The one looking a bit, well, rather forlorn and out of it…?
I wish I was her…
Yes, I wish I was out of it….
and I will explain….

But I actually wish I was in her state of mind…
as in mindless…
as in numb with the effects of Absinthe…
and yes, I will explain….

You’ve heard of it before, “la fée verte” or more commonly known to English speakers,
as “the green fairy.”
Absinthe was a concoction high in its alcoholic percentage…a fermented spirit including anise, botanicals and the mysterious herb wormwood..originally produced and bottled in Switzerland.
But its oddly addicting popularity spread throughout much of Europe and even to the US.

It was however, I suppose, the drug of the day, as it was highly addictive and considered to be a hallucinogen and psychedelic–in part due to the chemical thujone, which is found occurring naturally in wormwood…

Thus it was banned in the US as early as 1915.

It was a drink very popular with both artists and literary figures particualry in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th Century.

After the day I’ve had, sipping something greenish while falling into a state of oblivion sounds
actually rather soothing…

So you remember the herniated disc right?
Well it seems the disc has spawned a kidney stone.
Well not really, but it now seems that there are two issues.

I’ve spent the past month eating Motrin and Aleeve.
Not that that has helped with anything but blood flow.

I’ve consumed a good bit of wine in the evenings…
as it has helped to simply deaden my feelings…
yet the pain has remained.
This mind you as I’ve spent my days driving back and forth to Atlanta.

So today, I spent a good part of day laying on the floor,
as that was the only place I found relief.

But this disc business seems to have morphed into something other than.

So I decided it was either diverticulitis or cancer.
Diverticulitis because of as to where the severe now pain is located….
Cancer because that’s where your mind goes after the time I’ve had with dad…

Plus my husband has suffered with diverticulitis, having had surgery,
he diagnosed me right off.

I call the doctor…again
Who sends me, on a Friday afternoon to the ER…
wanting me there before 5 as that is when the ER will swell with “visitors”…
that is once the doctors all close their offices for the day and the long weekend…
It’s the fastest place to get a CT scan on a Friday afternoon,
just before a holiday weekend.

Something is wrong with this picture but I was in no shape to protest.

I call my husband at work, explaining I’ve spent the day on the floor and now
I’m going to drive myself to the ER…not to worry.

I’ll cut to the chase and spare you the details—
such as how I realized I’d forgotten my cell phone when I’d gotten to the hospital
and had to turn around, racing back home to get it…
twisting and swiveling while driving just trying to find a comfortable position
while keeping one hand on the wheel and a foot on the gas.

Can’t take one’s self to the ER without communication you know….

I will also spare you the typical ER horror stories like
how they lost me by putting me in exam room 10
while recording that I was in exam room 22—as I sat for almost an hour
before my husband came looking for me as the nurses suddenly realized they couldn’t find me….

I was standing the entire time in the exam room as standing, or laying on the floor,
is the only bearable position…I thought it best not to lay on the exam room floor.
This while I kept taking off and putting on the gown they’d
give me as I couldn’t remember if she told me to open it to the front, or open it to the back….

I peed in a cup.
They drew blood.
And they wheeled me for a CT scan.

Apparently there is no raging infection.
No assumed diverticulitis.
No appendicitis.
All organs look okay.
But there is a kidney stone.
And most likely a ruptured lower lumbar disc.

I feel as if someone has a drill to my lower back and it is drilling straight through to
my front left groin. Plus my left leg from the groin down mid front thigh is numb.

I wish my back and groin were numb.
I wish I was numb.
Hence why our little absinthe drinker in the Degas painting seems, so…appealing.

So they send me home with a prescription of Tramadol—they no longer give pain meds that will
do what they are suppose to do because of all the pain med abuse—Tramadol does not help me with pain, just makes me feel nauseated…
Plus they sent me home with a strainer—like something you’d find in the kitchen but this is not a kitchen tool—use this they say, to catch the stone.
I’ve never had a kidney stone.
“How long will that take” I ask—
“less than a week,”
they think….
Great.

My son has kidney stones—
My son has a learning disability
My son has ADD
My son has a little head—or so I think it’s little as compared to his stature.
all things I now must sadly claim as having come from me…
His terrible luck however, I will leave to his father….
I don’t consider my luck to be bad….cause I don’t believe in luck….
Not that this latest ordeal seems very lucky….

So now I’m writhing in pain as I feel like I want to throw up—and I wonder
Where might the absinthe be when you need it?