Posted tagged ‘Reality’

Something Better

March 2, 2011

My eczema was practically gone–really not an issue anymore. There was just one small patch of rough skin to remind me of what had once been a raging full-body nightmare (my mom said I’d looked like a burn victim).

I can’t say when it began to return. First a relatively minor itch, then the dry, scaly skin, spreading, becoming more itchy…I gave it as little attention as possible and went on with life. But this fall it began to interfere with my sleep again. And as the air got drier, it got worse. And worse. This is the type of itch the becomes more intense as you scratch, only giving way to pain when the skin’s finally broken–pain that’s a paradoxical relief to the maddening itch. If you stop at just the right point, you can avoid both extremes–the itch quiets a bit & the skin’s not broken yet–but there’s no way of knowing where that point is until you’ve passed it.

I go into that only as background for the spiritual saga that came with it. On the one hand, I was offering up the itch, when I thought of it (imperfect success–itch can be pretty distracting). I didn’t want to ask God to take it away if He had an eternal use for it. But I finally reasoned that if I was trying natural remedies, it only made sense to apply supernatural ones too. Perhaps part of the “use” God had in mind was to motivate me to ask for help–to ask Him directly and to ask others for prayer. That doesn’t come naturally to me.

At any rate, I did ask for prayer, prayer that I would handle well the itch God gave me (and not flay myself alive when the itch got maddening), and that if it would be best for my soul, He would heal me.

Well, one lady got to talking with me and asked about oils that often help eczema. Been there, done that. Didn’t work for me. But in the course of conversation I mentioned that we use soy oil almost exclusively because of my prince’s food sensitivities/allergies. She then related a story of a dog of theirs whose skin condition was completely healed when they removed soy from its diet & suggested that I get rid of the soy.

Oh my.

That’s what I use for almost everything, including the condiments most people can just buy. I have food precooked in the freezer, ready to eat–with soy oil. I just made two batches of crackers with soy oil. And…every can of tuna I can find has soy in it. So much for tuna on our meatless Fridays (which we do as our year-round penance in honor of Good Friday).

But…this itch is motivating! And I am trying to be a good steward of the body God created for me. So I’ve been avoiding soy. And trying to figure out what I can eat that doesn’t contain it.

And the itch decreased. It didn’t go away, but there was some relief. Now, it’s gotten a little better & then a little worse before, so this isn’t conclusive, but evidence is mounting.

In the midst of this experiment I fell ill. I didn’t pay too much attention to that either. Ride it out…but I didn’t feel like eating much either. So the other day I pretty much lived on matzah & herbal teas.

And the itch got worse.

Wheat?

I hadn’t had any for the days when the itch was getting better (my prince is avoiding wheat, so I have it only in select things that only I eat). Matzah is wheat.

Now I’m really starting to ask, “What can I eat?!”

In the midst of this, the thought came, “I never take anything from you except to give you something better. I keep taking better and better things so that you’ll keep setting your sights higher and higher.”

Yes, Lord.

The oft-told story of the little girl and her pearls came to mind. She’d longed for a little strand of costume jewelry pearls she saw in a shop window, and scrimped and saved her pennies toward the happy day when she at least had enough to proudly wear her new treasure home.

They were her constant delight.

Then one day, while they were enjoying personal time together, her father, with an odd serious expression, asked her, “Darling, do you love me?”
“Daddy! Of course I love you!”
“Do you love me enough to give me your pearls?”
The little girl was stunned.
“My pearls?! But Daddy! I couldn’t give up my pearls!”

Daddy said no more, but the little girl was left with his question burning in her heart. Her pearls! Her prized pearls! How could she ever give them up?! But…but she did love her daddy…

In the end, love won out. Head hung low, she tearfully approached her father with her precious pearls in her hand.
“Here, Daddy. These are for you.”
Daddy smiled a compassionately, a smile full of pride at his daughter’s supreme sacrifice. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a small, hinged box.
“And this is for you.”
Wonder spread over her face as she took the box and gingerly lifted its velvet cover. Then tears of joy welled in her eyes as she recognized the contents. There, nestled in satin was a radiant string of real pearls.
“You had to let go of the artificial beads before I could give you the real ones.”

Every good we have here on earth is only a pale shadow of the treasures God has for us. If we cling to our artificial pearls here, we sacrifice the Reality that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor has it so much as entered into the mind of man” (I Corinthians 2:9)–that Reality which God has prepared for those who love Him.

God’s giving me an opportunity to let go and reach higher. Please pray for me, that I will keep this vision in sight…and that love will win out.

Thank you.

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An Awesome Celebration!

December 12, 2003

Wow! What a party! I wish you could’ve been there 🙂 !

I’m not usually fond of parties, being something of a wallflower, but I was really eager to go to this one because my best friend was the Host (yes, my husband knows about this 🙂 –this is his best friend too, but his work schedule prevented him from coming with me). It was an elegant affair. We got to dress in our finest, there were candles, fresh flowers, music, the finest linens on the table and the ornate dishes were real gold (imagine!).

I didn’t have to worry about standing around feeling awkward–as I usually do at parties–because everything had been prepared and planned so that everyone had a special role to play in the festivities. The food was absolutely incomparable (you’ll never find soul food like this anywhere else)! But the most awesome part was that our Host personally presented each guest with a priceless treasure.

You’ve probably heard Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote:

Rings and jewels are not gifts,
but apologies for gifts.
The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Well, our Host gave no apologies. No ring, no jewel comes even close to the value of this gift. He didn’t stop at giving us a portion of Himself, either. He gave each person all of Himself in a most intimate way!

He united His Body with mine!

(you might want to stop for a second and let that sink in…)

You’ve probably figured out by now that the only Person capable of doing such a thing is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. You’ve probably also figured out that the party I’m referring to was the Mass. (Some parishes offer Mass every day, but because our priest has two parishes, we only have Mass on weekends, Wednesdays & Fridays.)

What you may not realize is that every Mass is a celebration of Advent (awaiting Christ’s coming), Christmas (Christ becoming tangibly present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in what was bread and wine), the Last Supper (Christ giving us His very Body and Blood as our food and drink), the Crucifixion (Christ offering Himself to the Father to pay for our sins) and the Resurrection–all rolled up into one! It’s all of salvation history in microcosm, not because God does the same thing over and over, but because He enables us to transcend time with Him, to be present at the eternal heavenly celebration.

All too often, I go to Mass with my eyes of faith unfocused. Spiritually I’m not seeing very well, so I just listen to somebody read words I’ve heard many times before, listen to somebody else recite some verses and recite a few myself (while my mind goes elsewhere), sing a few songs, eat a little wafer & go home. I may even fuss about how unharmonious the singing was or how stumbling the reader was–missing the whole point, missing the whole Reality for which I went in the first place! Part of the reason I write these reflections is that when I want to describe en event to someone, I often pay closer attention to what’s going on in order to be better prepared to share the story. Passing this on to you helps me focus the eyes of my heart, helps me enter into the eternal Reality that’s unfolding before me. Thank you!

And now that I’ve received this priceless Gift, I have an awesome responsibility to pass on the invitation…


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