Comfort: It’s what our bodies desire and our society cultivates and caters too. I would’ve taken an upgrade to First Class in a heartbeat on either of my flights home yesterday from Vancouver, had it been offered. While I would’ve avoided the manspreading fella on the first flight, I would’ve missed the adventurous couple whose love for life and travel was contagious. The husband gave a compliment to one of the Flight Attendants, the kind where it was visible how much it meant to her. The wife kept beating her husband playing Gin, mocking that her hands were tired from shuffling the cards too much, which amused both of us ladies as he half-heartedly griped.
We crave comfort while the call of the Christian life is the opposite — it is the cross. Christ calls us daily to pick up our cross and follow him, and some days are harder than others. The cross is the school of Christ, while it is painful it is also purifying.
This quote, “I reserve crosses and trials for you,” is from page 133 of Therese’s autobiography (see more below) and a reference to Luke 22:29. Christ says he appoints us unto the Kingdom that God appoints to him – yet we must be worthy of it. Therese explains that as Christ suffered before he entered into glory, “if you desire to have a place by His side, then drink the chalice He has drunk!”
What if we viewed our crosses as trails chosen by God so that we too may enter into his glory?
I’m not going to say it’s going to feel great, friends. But which is more true – to trust your feelings or God? If we have glory with God set in our minds as the destination, then it can transform us along the journey if we allow it.
I am reminded of how we spent this last heavenly birthday of my Mom, January 21, 2019. It was in the ER with my Dad.
We had just added a Pain Management Doctor to the list of specialists which totaled 15 Doctors including his Primary Care. Dad had been given a new pain med that previous week which caused serious adverse reactions – the worst of which was altered mental status (hallucinations, agitated, very confused). He’d had a lot of Edema below the waist that his Home Health Nurse attributed to not have compression on his lower extremities for a few days. Off the meds, he had been getting better the weekend before Mom’s birthday but felt very weak.
Then that Monday (birthday) morning, an untrained shuttle driver failed to properly strap my Dad’s wheelchair before taking him to Dialysis. He tried to tell her, but she drove off and on the first turn on the road, he fell over in his wheelchair — hitting his head and side on the floor. If it could be worse, she then pulled over, put him back, and continued to drive him to Dialysis without reporting it. It was my Dad that called me on his cellphone from the back of the shuttle!
Infuriated, I called the Director of his facility and things were set into motion there. He complained of pain in his hip and leg, but after an initial evaluation, he thankfully was oriented x3. He had such fluid build-up, that we proceeded with Dialysis with the plan to immediately transport him (not the same driver, of course) to the ER afterward, where I’d meet him. He was taken to the hospital where he had been receiving wound care 2x a week on his feet, and where he finally got into Hyperbaric treatments before they had to do further amputations – to his leg.
When I met Dad at the ER, although I was angry and worried, I was thankful he was alive and lucid. I asked God to not only help us through that day’s trial but to also help us celebrate my Mom’s life. The blessings came, here are a few: Doctors and Nurses that were so kind and accommodating; Dad’s regular (trained) shuttle driver had come to take over and stayed with us the 4-hours in the ER to transport him back properly in his chair so as to not cause more discomfort; my Husband brought dinner to us, ravenous after hours in the ER, and a cupcake for Mom that we sang over and split. We smiled as we remembered her. And back at his Assisted Living, his caretakers were also upset and promised to look after him carefully throughout the night.
Despite what we lacked in physical comfort, the Holy Spirit – the Comforter, provided graces for the moment in abundance. Here’s the thing — I had to ask, and receive it, which is possible even amidst the chaos.
If you’ve followed my blog at all (thanks!), you’ll know I have a devotion to Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux. If you’re new, a hearty welcome and I hope we’ll connect here or elsewhere more, I’ve posted links below to former posts – which were daily reflections during the Novena to St. Therese. Today I begin the Novena to St. Therese, the Little Flower – as it ends on her Feast Day, October 1st. Some other wonderful resources, such as Praymorenovenas.com, started yesterday — either way, it’s a beautiful time of prayer that I encourage you to take advantage of.
While I do reference St. Therese throughout other posts, these writings I’ve compiled on the Little Flower will pass along bits of her spiritual insights. You can follow along on the links below, and I’ll be posting more of my hand lettering quotes on my Instagram, so follow along there too @lisanch
- Where my love for this Sister, St. Therese, began: A Heavenly Shower of Roses
- Novena Day 1 Reflection: A Test of Faith
- Novena Day 2 – brief intro on her profound autobiography: If A Little Flower Could Speak, What Would It Say?
- Novena Day 3 Reflection: Occasions of Victory
- Novena Day 4 – how St. Therese & others have taught me about prayer, What I’ve Learned About Prayer
- Novena Day 5 Reflection: The Power of Prayer
- Novena Day 6 Reflection: True Love
- Novena Day 7 Reflection: Loving Our Littleness
- Novena Day 8 Reflection: Victim of Love
- Novena Day 9, October 1st (Feast Day) Reflection: Happy Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux
- A favorite excerpt from Story of a Soul.
- On another of my favorite books on her spirituality, I Believe in Love