Spokane glitters, a city between storms. A City on Ice — as I am, waiting alone for the nurse’s update. Just down the hall, contrast dye seeps through my husband’s veins.
Shrugging off layers — jacket, scarf, vest — I pace; then feeling chilled, curl into the molded plastic chair, knees up, hugging myself.
Shrugging and hugging.
I’m trying, dying to sense God’s enveloping presence.
But waiting is hard
Ancient Celts created “encircling prayers” known as loricas (lo – RYE’ – kahs). They engraved them on Irish shields and breastplates before soldiers went into battle.
Considering Dreamer’s Angiogram-in-progress, I wish I’d taken my Sharpie to his chest, made my wishes permanently known.
Christ be with me, Christ within me . . . This 8th-century lorica is attributed to St. Patrick. A sinking feeling within suggests that today I don’t quite believe it.
My beloved’s been gone 20 minutes. Nearly 44 years ago—roughly 26,426,400 minutes—Dreamer and I exchanged rings, two restless, love-struck idealists.
Dear God, let there be more years ahead.
Don’t we all wish this for those we love? Have we ever tallied the minutes of grace that have shielded and guided us?
Christ behind us, Christ before us . . . Changing the pronoun from “me” to “us” helps. A little. But returning jitters propel me upright. We wait — as well as walk — by faith, not by feelings, I tell myself, and we are never abandoned, no matter what.
Christ beside us, Christ to win us,
Christ to comfort and restore us.
I picture the ancient words pulsing within and around me, encompassing Dreamer, the nurses and cardiologist.
Christ beneath us, Christ above us . . .
Outside, light transforms high-rise windows to mirrors. Sunshine’s been scarce. Oh, for the snug comfort of my mom’s embrace.
“Coffee?” the kindly prep nurse asks. “How about some toast?”
I smile, shake my head, as if stillness might somehow appease Fate. Unlucky genes. Lifestyle choices.
Christ in quiet . . .
Silence cushions me the way a box lined in red-purple velvet cradles a ring. I feel held.
There’s a knock at the door; test results in hand, Dr. P enters.
“He’s resting now, slowly coming around.”
“Already?” I ask, sharp glance at the clock.
“I didn’t do any stents today.”
I start to rise, the grin shooting up from my insoles, through my chest. Even the roots of my hair feel springy.
“Unfortunately,” he adds gently (Christ in danger . . .), “stents won’t help your husband. He has multiple blockages.”
Somehow, I keep breathing. Someone, somewhere, must be praying, lifting us before God even as I sink back into the cold, hard chair. Christ in hearts of all that love us . . .
Dreamer needs five bypasses.
Questions crowd my throat like first-graders jostling for Teacher’s attention.
Dr. P is waiting calmly, kindly, waiting for me to find my words. “He’s healthy otherwise, and still young,” the doctor concludes. “He’ll come through fine.”
Christ in voice of friend and stranger.
I wrote this post a few days ago. Today, having met the surgeon, we’re still on ice, waiting now for open-heart surgery: February 28th, 7:15 a.m.
And we’re shrugging off fear whenever we can, hugging each other often.
Friends, we’re all facing battles within ourselves, or on behalf of those we love. Could we pray Saint Patrick’s Breastplate lorica together, right now, in solidarity? I’ve paired the words with simple hand movements. Click the link below and let’s lift our prayers together . . .
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Oh, and about Dreamer? I’ll keep you “posted.”
(See entire Breastplate prayer of St. Patrick here.)
Follow our journey here:
Site Link: www.caringbridge.org/visit/openheart2
Site Name: openheart2