Our family attended Good Friday services for the first time this year, and I thought the entire service was absolutely beautiful. I loved every minute of it, from the time the priests lay at the foot of the altar in prayer to the veneration of the Cross. Unfortunately, I could not be 100% involved because “my friend” decided to make an appearance…stupid MS.
While standing for the very long gospel, I started to get dizzy. I tried to ignore it for a little while, but it just grew in intensity. My legs began to get weak, I got extremely hot, my vision got blurry, and I just knew I was going to pass out. Fanning myself with a bulletin, I desperately looked around for The Husband. He and The Younger Boy left our pew to go to the cry room so as not to disturb everyone around us. The Younger Boy had a cough all last week, and although he wasn’t sick (according to our pediatrician) his cough sounded horrible. We were about five minutes away from being knocked out by old ladies throwing cough drops at us when The Husband and The Younger Boy left.
So, now I’m worried that I’m going to pass out, and it’s just me and The Older Boy in the pew. I’m not worried about my health; I’m not worried about hurting myself if I fall. No, I’m worried about the embarrassment of passing out in church. I’d be that lady. As in, Did you see that lady who passed out in church? No thank you. I’m a big enough embarrassment to myself when I’m feeling fine; we don’t need to add anything new.
Pride will be the downfall of me. No doubt.
I end up sitting halfway through the gospel, desperately hanging on to what little dignity I have left. I know I look like a mess; I feel like a mess. Please God, don’t let me pass out in church. Please God, don’t let me throw up. The sitting helps, and after a short while, I was feeling a little better.
By the time we go to venerate the Cross, I’m feeling a little more normal, so I decide to participate. However, once we were back in the pew, I felt horrible again. The room was spinning, my stomach was churning, and I felt extremely weak. Thanks MS for the vertigo…you big jerk.
I’m starting to get discouraged, when I remember the Ninja-Priest-Friend talking to me about carrying my cross. He’s constantly telling me that, and honestly, sometimes I just don’t want to hear it. I understand that this is a trial I’ve been given. I understand that it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. I understand these things on an intellectual level. But, on an emotional level, it’s sometimes hard to deal with. I look at the beautiful crucifix behind the altar, and I remember the homily from Holy Thursday Mass. Fr. Mario (a different priest) had compared Jesus to the Passover lambs of the Old Testament. He was completely unblemished, and even after His crucifixion, he had no broken bones. I looked down at my arms, still bruised from IV treatments weeks ago, and I have an extreme moment of clarity.
Bruised but not broken.
I’m literally bruised, but I’m not broken. I look at the image of Christ. I look at the crown of thorns on His head; I look at the cut in His side. He’s bruised, but not broken. I feel an immense amount of love for Christ, and for once, I think I finally understand the phrase “carry your cross.” I look around at the people in the church, and I wonder what crosses they are all carrying.
We are all bruised in some way. Some are bruised by illness. Some are bruised by loneliness. Some are bruised by bad relationships. Some are bruised by past hurts. The important thing is that we don’t allow our bruises to become breaks. We cannot allow ourselves to be broken.
A fellow blogger and friend, Mama Boe (you should check her out–she’s hilarious!) told me, “You are not broken. You cannot be. Ever. It’s just not possible. Either you believe God has you in his hands, or you don’t. And I think you DO.”
She’s completely right.
I may be bruised, but I’m not broken. I got this…
Side Note: Today’s the day!!! After 8 long weeks of waiting, it is finally time for my appointment with the MS specialist. The Husband and I are off to Houston for an early morning appointment tomorrow. (I never thought I’d be so excited for a doctor’s appointment.) I’d appreciate any prayers for my doctor–prayers for guidance and wisdom when treating his patients. Thanks so much!