Recent photo of my parents in my office

Recent photo of my parents in my office

December 29, 2007

The Joy of Boredom

In the past week, I have seen a progressive improvement in my strength and health. At the same time, the recovery is certainly not complete, so I have to measure my activity carefully. But I've been able to work from the College office and from my home computer each day for 1-2 hours. It feels so good to get out, to be mobile, and to see some progress being made on major tasks. What hope, what joy! Life is still grabbing hold of me (and I of it!) I weep each day as I recognize how dependent I am on God as a source, literally of the power to be, and how gracious he is to be present and faithful to me while in pain.

I mentioned this in the last blog, I think, but just as a reminder (even to myself), my pain comes mostly in sitting in the 1/2 hour before I'm due for pain medication; and in ways my lower back can make it hard for me to find a place to lie in bed. But, another reason for praise, that is progressively easier. I've learned some creative ways to use pillows (never thought I could use so many!) that have helped me truly sleep.

I also have great limits on walking, due to the blood clot in my right leg. Each day, it shrinks as the clot dissolves and the circulation system is restored. But I have to wear a very tight pair of hose to support my legs from pooling fluid. That makes me walk more slowly. Honestly, together with the pain of sitting (say, at a restaurant), walking remains the most restrictive limit on my activity.

Hence, my title, "The Joy of Boredom." I have some wonderful classical music to listen to, some great periodicals and books to read, DVDs and videos to view, and some TV shows. I've especially enjoyed mostly Wheaton College TV rebroadcasts, since other materials are quite trivial and meaningless, unless they're documentaries. At the same time, while I'm reaching out for new things to keep me stimulated, I long for the freedom to see people, to gather with friends, to be open in conversation and mutual sharing.

In this regard, I think I already mentioned how much I've come to love the way that my father and I can pray Morning Prayer and then Compline together. It is time more fulfilling than I've yet had with him in my life. We actually never connected -- he the sports fan, I the reader and classical music lover. But in this season of suffering, his love and tenderness has come shining through. Thank the Lord for my parents being here. I wouldn't have made it without them.

And I can't stop without mentioning my mother: great conversations, daily shots and medications, freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices with the right add-ons from alternative medicines, three meals a day that are almost all vegetarian or at least balanced with the appropriate amount of meat like chicken or fish, help with showering and dressing, washing and ironing my clothes -- the list goes on and on.

I'm am incredibly blessed. I can barely imagine the riches at the end of each day. That awakens within me the hope of God's ongoing intention for me. I heard him say a couple days ago, "Do not fail to believe in the promises I have given you, for I will be faithful. I am healing you day by day, and though it may seem slow at times, you are not in control. You cannot do this. Trust in me, and I will lead you day by day."

So that's what I'm trying to do. It isn't easy, even when the hospital news may seem good. The greater reality is that the hospital and the doctor are not ultimately in charge, though their human wisdom is great.

And through that, my heart is most thrilled with the possibility of once again being a blessing to others, whether through writing, speaking, teaching, or leading in music. For there is nothing more beautiful than the house of the Lord, and abiding in his presence.

May we all find that by beholding the beauty of the Lord, we will be transformed day by day into creatures who are both more human and more reflective of the divine image.

Blessings to you all,


December 22, 2007

A Chance to Return!

Dear Friends,

I can only count it a great blessing for all your intercessions and care. Margie faithfully took over the reports on our family and on my health, but I owe it to you to thank God for the ways that I have day by day chances to see him carry me through cycles of pain and relief, unexpected downfalls, and reaffirmations of hope. As Margie reports, I have had definite improvement in my capacity to be active, present, articulate, and even able to go to work for 1-2 hours per day. For this I am so grateful.

As far as pain goes, I'm reminded of passages in C.S. Lewis in which he speaks of the mystery of pain, and of the way in which we as human beings are all cowards in the face of it. I can only say, "True." Who wants it? Yet it is not our choice, it arrives unwanted and departs unexplained at times.

The pain I am enduring has a definite cycle of 6 hours or so, when I take a pain-relief med. Building up to that time can be obviously more challenging, but an outward focus and a personal connection or sleeping are always helps in alleviating that. When I do have pain, it comes to my lower back, and then down the right leg (for the most part). I can't breathe too deeply nor exert/extend my arms with force or energy, so those are areas for caution.

At any rate, I thank God that I've learned more about handling these episodes. For one thing, if I can learn to breathe deeply, lie flat, and pray the Jesus prayer instead of fighting pain ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"), it is not at all uncommon to reach a point of peace. What a surprise. My pain flows into the cross.

I think I may also have mentioned the meditation on the seven-last words of Christ on the cross as helpful as well, but I've failed to be as consistent in that meditation. At any rate, it is deeply comforting to receive the love of God in the midst of discomfort. This is most often mediated by my family. How would I survive this without them?

Margie is a rock of defense and security. What a blessing I received in her! My mother is a nurse, a caregiver, a nutritional expert in cooking, and she knows just what I need to do, even at times when it takes some more effort (!) My father and I have become closer than ever in our lives, and I count that a great privilege. We have started the practice of reading the daily office of Scripture together each morning after my breakfast.

Well, friends, that's a bit of news. What I want you also to know is that I seek to find ways to remember to intercede for you as well, when my mind is focused. Otherwise, I trust the Holy Spirit to take all of the words, spoken and unspoken, to fulfill his purposes for his glory.

Love and a Merry Christmas to you all!


December 1, 2007

Keeping You Posted

Dear Friends,
I am writing on John's behalf this evening. He is not able to blog right now. I am hopeful that he will regain strength and be able to include you in his process very soon. Because John is not able to get to the computer, I asked him if he would like me to write a quick post for him. I cannot keep up two blogs about our lives, but I would like to refer you to mine if you would like an update. I am updating my blog at least once a week, more if there are urgent needs.

As I am witnessing John's body wasting away and simultaneously being renewed by the indewelling Holy Spirit, I am grieved and fortified.

Your prayers are sustaining us.
Much love,
Margie Fawcett