Saturday, September 21, 2019

*Waves White Flag* Can This Please Stop?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
June 28, 2019. Dehydration and malnutrition while on retreat.
August 5, 2019. Chest pain and chest muscle spasms that caused my entire right side to go numb.
August 14, 2019. Dehydration and dizziness.
September 20, 2019. Dizziness and low blood pressure,

What do these four dates have in common? All days I ended up in the Emergency Room this summer.

Have you noticed how little I've written this summer? Well, that's because I've been sick. Besides those ER visits, there have been trips to urgent care, multiple doctor's appointments, several days of being stuck in bed, an emergency trip to the dentist to have two infected molars taken care of, a lot of physical pain, a lot of fatigue, and a lot more that I still haven't shared. This has been, without a doubt, the hardest summer (health-wise) since the summer of my reversion in 2006. And, it's always in the summer. Always.

I wish I could say that my faith has really pulled me through but, in all honesty, it's not been that great either. I've been experiencing this intense spiritual aridity for months. I pray, of course. I have my daily routine of morning prayers, the Litany of Humility, the chaplet of St. Michael, the (full version of the) St. Patrick breastplate prayer, the daily Rosary (sometimes more than all 5 decades of the day), the Rosary confraternity prayer, and my nighttime prayers. Sometimes I'll also have novenas going on, but I know it's been the lack of the Sacraments that have hindered any spiritual growth over the last couple of months.

It's been... hard. Being the only person who drives in the house and frequently feeling either too physically weak to go to Mass or being too lightheaded or dizzy to safely drive (or even walk/stand), even to our nearest parish, has made life difficult. I've made it to confession and Mass a couple of times this summer but rarely on Sundays.  I hate it. I hate not being able to make plans to have someone even drive me to Mass (and, God bless them, there have been multiple offers from fellow parishioners) because I never know how I'm going to wake up feeling the next morning and I'd hate to cancel/rearrange their plans at the very last minute.

Doctors are testing and checking everything they can think of. Primary, hematology, ophthalmology, (soon to be added) neurology -- everyone is trying to find "the" cause... and getting nowhere. The MRI I had done last month showed I have a small cyst in my pineal gland but they're not worried as they can be common and it's still small enough to not cause alarm. Both of my eyes have swollen nerves the back of them (hence why the MRI was ordered) and they still haven't found the cause for that. There is a possible explanation for my chronic lightheaded and dizziness but it's something that I won't be able to address anytime soon. Let's just say that something can be done about it, but health obstacles keep me from trying to move forward and away from the cause/source. Prayers for the chance to test this theory would be greatly appreciated.

The more I try to find God in these situations, the further away He seems. My eyesight has been so bad lately (I've developed really bad chronic dry eye that makes me sensitive to light and blinds me for several minutes upon waking nearly every day these days) that I haven't even been able to read, much less do Lection Divina or spiritual reading. If it wasn't for the option to have text read to me on my iPod and iPhone, I wouldn't even get the daily Mass readings.

I don't know what to do. Plain and simple. I feel like I'm failing some of my duties as an Oblate novice because of what I've been dealt lately. Our Oblate master knows; I've let him know what's been going on with me; some of which only a handful of people know. Still, I wish I could do more. I know what I'm capable of and it's hard to not be able to do them.

While I was able to find God and feel closer to Him during moments of illness before, I can't anymore. I have zero consolations. I try to make sense of why I'm going through what I'm going through. Could it be penance for past (and current) mistakes? Could it be that He's preparing me for something great in the future? Am I supposed to go through all of this because He's trying to teach me something; to prepare me for something? Could all these health issues be physical manifestations of spiritual attacks since I keep trying to grow and heal? Actually, that last theory is a popular one for reasons I hope to one day be able to share. What the answer is... I don't know.

Maybe I'm not supposed to know why I've had to suffer so many physical ailments (all at once) in the last 3 months. Maybe I'm just supposed to trust that God will be there, even when He's never seemed as distant as He has lately. All I know is that I have to keep moving forward and keep up my prayers and continue to try to get to confession and Mass as much as I can. It's not always easy and I may not feel up to it very much (or at all some days) but I can try.

Anyway, if you've been wondering about why I've been so sporadic with my blogging, this is why. I've even fallen behind on work at times; it's been that bad, y'all.

Please keep me in your prayers as I have a feeling I still have a steep hill to climb before I can get a break. I have a couple of doctors appointments this week, a lot of blood work to get taken (hopefully the last non-routine tests that I'll have to do for a while), and a busy work week on top of that.

God willing, I'll have a little break coming up so I can write all these non-health posts I've been wanting to share all summer.

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :)