(Psalm 139:14) New American Standard Bible
I was awakened from sleep quite recently with tears slowly going back into my hair. There was this calm feeling of relief and release within me. A recognition that my body was, in fact, in the process of healing. There had been a few dark days where I was wondering if that was ever going to happen. My health was finally being restored. These were tears of gratitude to God for the healing powers given to my body by my creator. In that moment I felt immensely at peace in my soul.
I don’t know if there was any connection to mourning my older brother’s passing a few months earlier, but in late May I began to experience some weird health issues. It began with swollen lymph nodes and other unusual aches and pains. Within a week, a red and blotchy rash began to show up. It started at the small of my back, went around my right hip and down my right thigh, then over my knee. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with shingles! It was a “significant case” my doctor said. (I was so thankful it wasn’t on my face and around my eyes, which often happens.) I had no idea of the intense, excruciatingly painful journey ahead.
Shame on me for not having gotten the shingles vaccines. I had many opportunities and lots of encouragement to get the two shots now required. I had heard they were quite painful and it just always seemed too inconvenient. So, I talked myself out of getting them when I could have. “I’ll do it later” I told myself.
Now I see clearly. This virus is what’s painful and inconvenient:
- six to seven weeks of misery;
- applying cool packs, creams and ointments to the rash several times daily;
- dealing with the subsequent blisters and scabs;
- not being able to wear certain kinds of clothing;
- taking anti-viral meds, and pain meds for the stabbing pain;
- residual areas of nerve pain in the faded rash areas;
- several doctor’s visits;
- and lastly, fatigue and mental fogginess.
My doctor says that I must wait about 5 more months to get the vaccine. Believe me, I will make the time. (Oh, and by the way, I broke my right big toe about a week into this! Ya gotta laugh!) Anyway, I do hope this will encourage some of you (over age 50) to get your shingles vaccine. I thank God for the scientific minds which researched and developed it; and, the gift of our body’s immune response. We do take so much for granted.
I’m writing about this because we must encourage each other on our journeys; especially, these hot, oppressive pandemic days. If we are at all open to being taught “life lessons” on our journey, we should share while they are fresh in our hearts. I feel it’s good to help others who might be needing my story, or your particular story. God knows who that person(s) is and will guide them to read my words, or hear your voice. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is always at work in these things. It’s a beautiful thing to know that our suffering, whatever it might be, can be useful to help others as well as ourselves. In that way our suffering can, indeed, be a blessing. And for that we thank God.
Let us pray...
I am so grateful for the way that you have created me from birth and that I am awesomely and wonderfully made. I recognize that I am responsible for taking care of this gift of life until my last days. May I truly grasp the enormity of it all and be a better caretaker. Thank you for your wonderful works of healing, and the multitude of other ways that you show each of us your love and grace. In your holy name,