During my first semester at seminary, a required course had to do with the writings of the early church. As best I can remember, we had to choose several readings from an extensive list, write reflection papers on them, and select one for an oral presentation. The workload that semester was heavier than I'd anticipated, and as I looked among the selections for early church history, I was drawn to the shorter offerings. One of these was Showings, by Julian of Norwich.
Being much more practical than mystical, religious than spiritual, I was surprised that I liked Julian so much. I had to read her piece twice because throughout the first reading, I was convinced that she was mentally ill. The cloisters can do that to one, I suppose. But I had a paper to write, and so I reread, looking for the heart of what she had to offer.
"All shall be well,
and all shall be well, and
all manner of thing shall be well."
Mentally ill -- perhaps. Faith-filled -- certainly.
Nearly two weeks ago, I sat in a cardiac emergency room watching a team of professionals minister to my husband, whose heart was broken and needed to be fixed. I sat quietly, oddly worry-free, as they each performed their respective parts of the assessment and the preparation for the procedure to come.
Later, I looked back on that scene and wondered if there was something wrong with me that I had been so calm, so confident.
"I must have been in shock," I told myself. But that wasn't the case. I was very aware of the seriousness of our situation, and I was just as certain that the outcome was going to be good.
During my years as a hospital chaplain, I was part of that scene on many, many occasions. At those times, I developed a kind of sixth sense that enabled me to somehow discern from the body language, the demeanor of the team, whether the outcome was likely to be worrisome or satisfactory. I hadn't thought about that in some time. But now I believe that as I sat in that ER with Joe, the cues that my subconscious picked up on were what kept me stable, calm, and trusting. God's gift of healing was coming to Joe through the many capable hands God had provided to care for him, to minister to him.
Joe's painful rash of the past weekend responded fairly quickly to the steroids. We'd been told there was no appointment available for the cardiologist until June 20, but on Monday the 2nd, were informed of an opening the very next morning. The medicines have been adjusted. Dr. Cohen smiled his warm, reassuring smile, and said to schedule another appointment for five to six weeks. Joe has been cleared to resume driving, and yesterday he went to New Jersey and back for business. He's pronounced safe to go to Virginia as scheduled in the middle of this month. We're eating differently and making an adventure of it. He tires more easily and has the good sense to take a nap in the afternoon or before dinner. He's set up for an assessment at the exercise center. I had the audacity to contact the B&B to ask for Eggbeaters and turkey bacon.
The new normal has begun. We're adjusting well. And I'm not worrying. I feel the kind of optimism and faith that Julian expressed:
All shall be well,
and all shall be well, and
all manner of thing shall be well.