Monday, August 14, 2017

The sickness, the travel and the outcome

I remained healthy for several months after the cancer diagnosis, but eventually my energy began to flag. I fought sore throats, swollen glands and fatigue. By the time I tucked my kids into bed, I'd collapse, only to begin anew the next day.

The struggle reached a peak days before I planned to travel, coinciding with a regularly scheduled oncologist's appointment. I dreaded the appointment. What if these health issues cause me to cancel my trip? I cringed at the thought.

Please God, I prayed. Please let me go on this trip. I don't care what happens after it. Just, please get me through the next week. Please let me go.

The trip was somewhat of an annual pilgrimage and I longed for the anticipated prayerful experience. I was traveling to Conyers, Georgia, where a visionary was reportedly receiving messages from the Blessed Mother. Thousands would gather and pray the rosary at noon on the country hillside. It was quite an experience that no words can describe.

I held my breath as the oncologist studied the reports. Finally, he spoke. "When you get
sick(er)," he said, "I'm the one you call. Not your family practice. Not an internist. You need to call our office."

I exhaled! No change in plan! I could go! I come!

And next, dear friends,  is what God wanted me to hear...and I'm sure it's what he wants you to hear, too...

It was a simple question, posed by Bill, a fellow parishioner. Before leaving town, I happened to see him and another friend, Anna, on the steps of church after Mass. There, I updated them on my health and my upcoming pilgrimage to Conyers.

Bill inquired about the trip, then asked an interesting question:

"When you go there (Conyers)," he said, "why don't you ask the Lord if He can use your life more than you can?"

What? Say that again, please?

I had to think about it, but it made sense so, while away, I did ask the Lord if He could use my life more than I could. 

I asked over the throngs gathered to pray the the solitude of the Georgia countryside...all weekend long, those words surfaced again and again . Lord, can you use my life more than I can?

Days later, I returned home, thankful for the prayerful experience.  It doesn't matter if I need to start chemotherapy now, I thought. The other shoe can drop. I've had my pilgrimage.

Surprisingly, though, I didn't get sicker.

Instead, my strength slowly returned. Before long, I was rollerblading around the block with my kids. Life resumed full swing.

Through the years, I've never forgotten Bill's simple question. It's become a lifelong prayer. It changes everything. It reminds me of who God is and who I am. It empowers me every time the words leave my lips...

Just think. Whatever is going on, you can free yourself from the trappings of your own expectations and limitations. All you have to do is ask...and really mean it...

Lord, can you use my life more than I can?

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