"They also serve who only stand and wait."
- John Milton
Patience has not often been one of my virtues, yet I've had to learn it and pray for it and practice it, particularly in these last four years or so.
In late October of 2011, I was having health problems. Tests were taken, and waiting for the results was excruciating. A few days later, my doctor called and told me I had cancer. And then the stop and start and hurry and wait of it all began. Scans, more tests, more waiting ...for results, more waiting ..for appointments, then for surgery, then for a few treatments of radiation. And after the “worst” was over, the anticipation built up a week or so before each check up. After a few years, I'd finally relaxed into the three month checkup routine without as much angst when – bam!
--I got the call that “it” had returned. And now began the dance to the same dreadful song, next verse.
So, after about seven weeks of 5-days-a-week radiation, I waited for the zombie-like fatigue to leave. And it didn't. Blood tests with my prime care doctor revealed that my already low thyroid levels were lower than they had ever been. So again, the slow wait as we gradually built up the levels with medication.
Good friends and neighbors, prayer, good doctors, a great therapist, so many people helped “put me back together.” But I alone have had to become patient. No coincidence to me that the same word used to describe us when we're ill is the same quality we need most. And it's a work in progress, for all of us, I'm learning.
This spring, around Easter, I was thinking about the original events and meanings of Good Friday and Easter Sunday but wondered about that Saturday in the middle. As a child that was the day I searched around the house for chocolate rabbits and jelly beans hidden for Easter morning, but, yeah, now I kinda thought that veered away from the real purpose of that day. So I got on the Google and found a quote that goes straight to my soul every time I read it. I hope you find peace, strength, and yes, help with patience here.
“That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting -- with nothing to do and no church service to help -- a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get -- there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.”
- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her article “Learning to Wait in the Dark: A Holy Saturday Reflection” in The Huffington Post.
Sue Ann Jenkins
Copyright 2015 Sue Ann Jenkins