July 19, 2017

I Am, not I Do

[This is a guest post from Norine.]

My kids had been watching the Veggie Tales DVD “Mo and the Big Exit,” and my four-year old asked a question. I turned to the book of Exodus and began to read aloud: “Doesn’t that sound familiar?” I asked, linking the bible verses to the show. But very quickly, she lost interest and I found myself reading on.

Moses, hearing the voice of the LORD from the burning bush, said to him, “When I go to the children of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel:
I AM sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:13-14).’

Moses and the Burning Bush

I pondered that for a bit.

“I am.”

Not “I was.” Not “I will be.” Not “I am doing.”

About 12 weeks ago, I suffered an infection that damaged my vestibular nerve. It caused vertigo, coordination problems and difficulty concentrating.  For a time, I could no longer walk. I could not drive. I could no longer do most of the things I was used to doing.

As a stay-at-home mom, I was still at home. But my husband now had the duties of caring for the kids and the household. I wasn’t cooking, cleaning or doing the shopping. I wasn’t dressing the girls or helping with homework. I wasn’t grocery shopping or shuttling the kids where they needed to go.

As person who helped in ministry, I was also suddenly unable. My slot as lector and adoration guardian were given to subs. I had to stop meeting with my prayer groups. I finally had to admit I wasn’t going to be able to help with Vacation Bible School (VBS). My heart still hurts over that one. I really love VBS.

And generally, as a person of prayer who wants to worship, I was quite unable. For a few Sundays, I received the Eucharist at home through a homebound ministry. Then my husband brought me in the wheelchair. It was some time before I could physically participate. It is very hard to remain seated when everyone else is standing.

But I was disheartened to find myself unable to participate mentally. I found it difficult to catch on to the readings, learn the tune of the Psalm or concentrate on the prayers. My head was very unclear for visiting the tabernacle, on the now rare opportunities I could get a ride there. Praying in structured ways, like the Rosary, was difficult because I kept forgetting where I was. And praying in unstructured ways was also difficult. I couldn’t think of anything to say.

It hurt very much that so many of the places I found solace and purpose were now stressful. All of the things I felt I needed to do, I couldn’t do anymore. And I felt like I was a very poor wife, mother and Christian... [To read the rest of this story, click over to ATX Catholic.]