Praise the Lord and Pass the Kleenex

Just got back from the drugstore looking for the magic cure for a cough. Shelves almost bare, line too long, more cooties than the hospital.

It’s that time of year. Time to buy Kleenex stock and call around town lookin’ for chicken soup.

Even the most spiritual mystic finds himself on the toilet with cramps or hacking up a lung with the flu. The vast majority of every prayer list going around every group is requests for physical healing.

“Brother Ass,” St. Frances called his body. I must concur.

Tell that Donkey of a body “no” and it whines for a sweater or a fan, chocolate or coffee or wine. Tell it “yes” and it eventually tires and disappoints, sometimes with scars.

Even people whose bodies no longer operate properly are stuck with its demands. My first quadriplegic patient years ago always asked me to scratch his nose for him. And those with amputated legs were still plagued by “phantom pain.”

I saw a television documentary once of a severely brain-damaged young man, almost blind, palsied, unable to speak or walk. His aging mother carried him on her back from place to place, taught him to play piano. Loved him, fed him, taught him the gospel.

Most of the program was narrated by the interviewer, asking questions of the sweet little mother herself, not really including the young man, as he was incapable of speech.

At the end of the interview the narrator did turn to the young man and ask: “What does ‘love’ mean to you?”

He struggled to the piano bench, leaned his head back, face toward heaven, and played “Amazing Grace” as beautifully as I’ve ever heard it played. I still get teary when I remember that scene.

Yes, our bodies are a challenge. Yes, the Lord has His ways.
There are several design “flaws” I intend to bring up with the Lord someday: Why couldn’t he have made teeth removable? The dentist would be a wonderful thing if it was a shop where you could drop them off.

And why is the place we swallow our food right next to the place we take in air? Choking is an ever-present danger.

Which is not to mention the unfortunate placement of our private parts, life creating functions laughably close to excretory ones. It’s almost as if our Creator wanted us to be humble, not take ourselves too seriously.

He must have His reasons for leaving us here with our disappointing flesh until the day we are freed to live with Him without it.

Maybe to learn to walk by faith. Or the spiritual virtue of humility.

Maybe our “forever” is being worked out by our choices here in the desert.

We cannot know. We can only have faith. And faith does not mean faith in us, in our faith. It means faith in His reasons, even though we cannot know them. Faith in His love. Faith in accepting that our finite little brains cannot hold the whole truth, but that His does.

And faith that He really WILL “turn it all to good.” (Romans 8:28)

After ten days layin’ around the house, wheezing and blowing my nose, too puny to do much, I WAS able to listen to scripture verses on my phone. (Hey, God’s got His ways). Heard some hope and beauty that my whiny flesh has not heard lately. Received some gifts I will keep close to me now.

For one, a new love and hope infused by this ancient Psalm (103). A way to receive hope AND give thanks…both of which I’ve needed. A LOT.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget none of his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

OOOoo yes. Thank You, Lord, and amen. Bless us, keep us, heal us, use us. THANK YOU for Your promises and a million little mercies. Even the Kleenex.

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