These words from The Rule of Life of SSJE* spoke clearly to me on the “Challenge of Sickness”:
The fragility of human life makes sickness inevitable. When it befalls us we are to seek restoration and play our full part in the process of healing. This means radical dependence on Christ through our own prayer, the prayer of the community and our friends, and his ministry of healing mediated through the sacramental rite of Laying on of Hands and Anointing. It involves our ready acceptance of medical means of healing.
Sickness may compel us to be dependent on the care of others. This may conflict with our pride and challenge our notion of self-sufficiency. We are called to let go and accept the service of others gracefully. It is an important expression of our vow of obedience to be open and cooperative with those who are looking after us in sickness. Those who care for the sick should cherish this opportunity of service and realize that their caring may be the chief means by which the sufferer experiences the companionship and love of Christ.
After a fall from my bike at Percy Warner Park a few Saturdays ago and subsequent hand surgery to repair a dislocated and broken left wrist, I know firsthand what it is like to be totally dependent upon the care of others, as well as radically dependent on Christ through prayer and the prayer of others. In addition, I have been overwhelmed by the demonstrations of God’s love in the people who went in the ambulance with me and got me home from the Emergency Room, the stranger who took care of my bike, and others who took me to surgery, sent flowers, brought food, covered for me at work at HCA and at my volunteer work at the Frist Center, checked on me, sat with me as I rested, as well as those who continue to pray for a complete recovery.
With two plates and multiple screws in my left wrist, I’ll be out of golf for 6-8 months but I’m grateful for an excellent hand surgeon as well as the recognition that my injuries could have been significantly worse.
This is a sincere thank you to all you have tended to me as I have been utterly helpless. But I have learned the great lesson that I cannot exist without others in my life.
It was a beautiful day in the Park.
*SSJE is The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastery near Boston