This will be an un-Todd-like post. I was going to tell the folks after church today, but it didn’t sound like me so the words froze in my gullet. I chickened out.
I think the word miracle is overused. When you notice the grandeur of creation in a sunset or the northern lights. When things work out in your favour or better than hoped for. When there is unexpected fortune. The horrible evangelist show I watch every morning calls getting enough donations a miracle.
I like to reserve the word for some multiplying of loaves and fishes. The curing of a leper. Walking on water. The hand of God is present in the other as well. But God’s grace is omnipresent throughout creation and if we use the word miracle to refer to everything it loses it impact.
This morning it certainly seemed as though the hand of God had a direct impact on my life in a small way. Now, it was mostly good drugs, but God works in mysterious ways it is said.
I didn’t feel well this morning when I awoke. My tummy ached. You probably see where this is going already. I was a bit dimmer. I overate the night before and went to sleep without fully digesting my meal. I thought that finishing digestion and drinking some water would cure me. But of course it was a kidney stone.
I got ready for church as normal and by the time I was ready to go I knew what was going on. I popped some pain killers and anti-inflammatories at 8:05 as I was waiting for the bus to head to church. The last time I tried that it didn’t work and I ended up going to the hospital for the day. The bus came early and we went straight to church. 8:22 I rolled into the entrance the pain killers were just kicking in and I felt relief as I entered the church for the first time that morning.
But there was still significant discomfort. I could feel the stone blocking things up. For the next ten minutes it continued to lessen as the pain killers did their thing and it settled at an uncomfortable, but easily bearable level.
During the next half hour I lied about four or five time. I felt bad about lying in a church. People would come in and pass my seating place. “Good morning,” they’d great me. “How are you today?” “Fine and yourself,” I’d lie in response. Saying, “I’ve had better days. In the middle of a kidney stone attack here,” would have caused undue concern.
As I waited for church to begin I sat and prayed. This is pretty normal. But I spent most of the time praying for myself which is not. I also wondered if I was going to switch my planned afternoon at the movies for a visit to the ER.
Church started, the first chords of the opening hymn came forth and the priest began to move down the aisle towards the altar. Just behind the priest some friends came in. Their middle child saw me at the back. Sweet kid. he smiles whenever he sees me, calls “Uncle Todd” and comes over for a hug. Today was no different.
What was different today was the reaction I had. As I released the child from a brief hug, my pain vanished suddenly. I literally felt a rush into my bladder as the blockage inside let go. It was as though God answered my prayers and used the hands of a child to heal me. Really it was incredibly awesome.
Now what happened was the anti-inflammatory did its job. The pain disappearing suddenly is common in my experience. The pain grows quickly but gradually as pressure build up against the stone. But once it lets go, the pain just goes away. But the timing is pretty nifty. The pain lessened as I entered the church and vanished as mass began and a child wrapped his arms around my sore belly.
The readings at mas today were about what God can do in our lives. The Gospel was about Jesus healing a paralyzed man. They seemed particularly synchronous today.
In other news, a friend is struggling with a family illness today. I certainly do not deserve the relief I got this morning. I pray that they similarly receive God’s grace this weekend.