One of the most exhausting elements of this recent flare-up of my chronic illness is that I am constantly imagining ways that I will improve. It could be diet or rest or a good old fashioned miracle, so I wear myself out with my hopeful visualizations.
Recently, while I was sneaking a few moments of rest in the manner which has become my habit, I was dozing on a decrepit sofa and turned again to my self-centered prayers for healing. For a few minutes I felt better. With my arm over my eyes to block out the light and my back sagging into old cushions I thought this would be a funny place for healing.
Despite my purported spiritual development I still expect the white light, the moment of the earth rumbling underneath me. Yet God keeps surprising me in the funniest places. I switched seats on a train so that a large group could sit together, and the next moment a man sat down next to me who would change my life. I dragged myself home from a retreat in college to find a recruitment flyer for teachers on the door of my dorm room that would lead me into my career.
Surprise! God says. Here I am, where you least expected! And grace floods me and my life is transformed.
This is the hope I need in my life, the hope that grace will sneak attack me. Instead I exhaust myself with dreams of exactly what I want, not quite convinced that God can do better than my anguished imaginings. So I keep trying to remember that grace shows up in funny places.
Mark Allman says
I’ve been thinking about this post for a couple of days. I do pray that God will heal you.
For me this post makes me think of the unanswered prayers in my life and in the lives of those I love. Is the miracle having your prayers answered or being blessed beyond them in an unexpected way. Is the miracle to have what I so often beg for given me or is it growth I’ve gotten having my prayers unanswered? I wonder if the miracle is to be healed from your illness or to do great things in this life despite it. Is the miracle being loved the way I ache for or is it you being able to love that way? I want to think I know what is best for me and those I love and what would be so good but I know I fight a losing battle so often. I can not even see what is right in front of me much less that which is hidden….
I hope and pray God surprises you again soon.
Margaret Felice says
Thank you, Mark.