Thursday, July 30, 2009

Did you see the stars align tonight? I have actually had more food in the past few hours than the past few weeks!

Late this afternoon, my boss made her basil/lemon/garlic/mozzarella salad at work, and I recklessly ate a small bowl of it, figuring it would be worth a visit to the bathroom. Strangely enough, while waves of nausea rolled over me, I did not throw up the salad. When I arrived home, I was actually hungry--something that is very, very rare these days--so I ended up eating an entire chicken breast and guzzled two glasses of Gatorade. It stayed down as well. So, I threw caution to the wind and at a half cup of Trader Joe's corn and then topped off my "meal" with a coffee cup of Fiber One cereal with milk! [As much as I miss Dr. Pepper, I miss milk.] Again, it was a mighty battle to keep the food down, but I did. Shocking!

My meeting with Pastor today was filled with more shouting over each other than with calm, cool reflection. Alas, he believes I am wrong about something. I believe that I am right, and instead he is not hearing me, that I am not finding the right words. For all the talking sideways at each other, Pastor gave me much food for thought. I only wish that I had stopped to write some things down.

One bit was about forgiveness. As he put it, the world teaches that you must forget with forgiveness. Forgive and forget. But the bible teaches that as sinners, we are not always able to do that which we should. So, the forgiveness that we can offer each other in Christ is more of a pardon for the wrong and a promise not to fling that wrong back in the face of another, not to bring it up even if it is brought to mind. I keep thinking that I do not know many, if any, who fulfill the latter part of that definition.

Of course, Pastor used the moment to plug the forgiveness of Christ, where our sins are set away from us, as far as the east is from the west. This, I do not doubt. This I have clung to for years. But again as eternal, not temporal. Being washed clean seems only for heaven, not for this world...because people really, really tend to always to see the dirt that covers us as sinners rather than who we are in Christ.

We met to talk about the visit with the specialist surgeon and the concerns that arose during Tuesday's consultation. She would like to talk with him to try to know my heart. Surely he can share that with her. I am not sure how I feel about her concern with the whole person, for I just want her to do the surgery. However, aside from whether or not the surgery would be good for me emotionally, there are large questions needing answering.

The shouting was not bad for it was actually some communicating. What really and truly disturbed me is that I could not finish the Lord's Prayer. Twice.

I had brought my pocket version of the Book of Concord for the blessing and the thanksgiving. I did not plan on eating, but Pastor was to have lunch. I read them aloud before and after the meal; in each one you are to say the Lord's Prayer. Both times, I could not remember the last line. I know that text. I know it! Yet that did not matter.

This morning, I fainted as I was reading aloud from the Treasury of Daily Prayer. I had prayed some psalms and read aloud from the "Apology of the Augsburg Confession" (I am a glutton for punishment in how often I return to this dense defense I cannot seem to fathom). When I started the daily scripture readings, down on the floor I fell.

While at lunch, I had to keep battling waves of dizziness and had trouble standing up when it was time to leave. I used my inhaler, secretly worried how much effort it was to have enough breath to support talking (ahem...shouting).

I have to say, that I feel as if the more I try to read scripture aloud, the more I pray the psalms aloud, the more difficult it gets. If breathing is not the issue, then it is the fact that my reading aloud skills have greatly deteriorated. I stumble and bumble through the words, reading more like a second grader than one with a Ph.D. under her belt.

It just killed me, hurt my heart mightily, to not remember the Lord's Prayer. Although I did not admit to Pastor that I have been struggling with my daily recitation of the Creed as well. This diminishing of capacity frightens me so.

Something Pastor asked me was what I thought I would gain from the Lord's Supper. The answer I gave him was not what I really and truly wanted to say. It is not that it was not true, but it was not the whole of my answer. Had I been able, I would have picked up the Book of Concord and start reading to him:

[For those who rightly believe they are receiving the true body and true blood of Christ through the Lord's Supper] faith may refresh and strengthen itself so as not to fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. For the new life must be so regulated that it continually increase and progress; but it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy that when he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides, tries all devices, and does not desist, until he finally wearies us, so that we either renounce our faith or yield hands and feet and become listless or impatient. Now to this end the consolation is here given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, that it may here obtain new power and refreshment. (LC, Part V, 24-27)

For here He offers to us the entire treasure which He has brought for us from heaven, and to which He invites us also in other places with the greatest kindness, as when He says in St. Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Now it is surely a sin and a shame that He so cordially and faithfully summons and exhorts us to our highest and greatest good, and we act so distantly with regard to it, and permit so long a time to pass [without partaking of the Sacrament] that we grow quite cold and hardened, so that we have no inclination or love for it. We must never regard the Sacrament as something injurious from which we had better flee, but as a pure, wholesome, comforting remedy imparting salvation and comfort, which will cure you and give you life both in soul and body. For where the soul has recovered, the body also is relieved. Why, then, is it that we act as if it were a poison, the eating of which would bring death? To be sure, it is true that those who despise it and live in an unchristian manner receive it to their hurt and damnation; for nothing shall be good or wholesome to them, just as with a sick person who from caprice eats and drinks what is forbidden him by the physician. But those who are sensible of their weakness, desire to be rid of it and long for help, should regard and use it only as a precious antidote against the poison which they have in them. For here in the Sacrament you are to receive from the lips of Christ forgiveness of sin, which contains and brings with it the grace of God and the Spirit with all His gifts, protection, shelter, and power against death and the devil and all misfortune. (LC, Part V, 66-70)

[Emphasis mine.]

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