Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bobbing the Waves Alone

I have been to Charlotte this morning, to the hospital to see a member of my church who is having surgery. I told her a few stories about John Wesley, of his frustrated love affairs and his encounter with the Moravians. She and her husband, himself a former Moravian but both of them Methodists for twenty years or more, had never heard of such and thought them really funny. I hope it relieved the stress a bit.

Who will tell me stories on Friday? Anyone?

The other night Jo and I went to a 50th anniversary party for a new couple in our church. Their kids had put together a video...the story of their lives in pictures. I made the observation the next morning in my sermon that the Bible affords us the picture of our lives, in stories. The stories are the fascia, the connective tissue, that hold us together and give our bodies cohesion. If we lose our stories, we cease to be the body...

I wept at the beach last week, looking at all the young families--moms and dads with their
kids--praying for them, remembering when my little ones were little. I cried in the ocean, too, knowing I would never bob a wave with Bethany again, or not likely, or maybe I will but who knows? Jacob came into the water with me once, and Jo did the last time I went out on Friday. I told her I wished she would. She does not like the water in her face and so she has always been very resistant. To her credit she stayed with me about 15 minutes. Mostly I was out there by myself. Bethany would have gone with me, I think, but she was not able to come down at all.

I am sure I spend way too much time pondering what I have lost or never had, what I do not expect to experience again if I ever did. When I look at our bulldog Chester, or rub his ears, I fear almost above all other things the prospect of his death. It will come. How will we cope? We will, but he has been the primary glue in our family for a long time. Sad, but in many ways true.

I have surgery again this week...my seventh on my poor knee. A revision of my replacement done last June. They will go in a third time through the largest of my scars...and isn't that an image? The doctor keeps opening the old wound in hopes of fixing my joint. "The tissue has failed," he said. "It's a real mess in there." The fascia is torn, my knee cannot work as a knee because the tissue has failed. Knees, joints, bodies, Body...

This surgery, as my last, has put me deeply in touch with my mortality. I am doing everything this week as a kind of "if I never can do it again..." Silly, probably, but I dread Friday with a perfect dread.

Anyway, as I was weeping at the beach I prayed, thankful for the time now past, sad that it is past--that my time too is shorter than yesterday. I do not begrudge anyone their youth or the time they spend with their beloved children; that time goes away so quickly and does not return. Indeed, it does not. But, as Luna Lovegood (in the movie version of Order of the Phoenix) says her mother said, "The things we lose have a way of coming back to us, just not in the ways we might expect." I hope that, would like to think that, about a lot of things.

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