Thursday, May 27, 2010

Come to my assistance in this great need....

I'm completely and totally sick of these headaches. Not that I was ever really down with them to begin with. I was fairly gleeful of late to find that I wasn't getting them with my usual frequency and ferociousness, which I ascribed to a regular workout schedule. I still believe in this, that working my muscles and heart has benefited my head. For the month of May, however, I've been feeling like my body was hell-bent on giving me a headache.

And this, perhaps, might be the source of my feeling depressed, which I wrote about at my heathen blog.

The neurological effects of migraines are interesting. I've felt shaky, nauseated, sensitive to light, really sad. I've had trouble sleeping. And my medicine isn't working. I get 6 pills a month covered by insurance. Since Sunday, I've taken three. No luck.

So I don't know what this means. I guess it just means I'm due for pain. I've had my respite, and now I'm due.

I took the girls to a parish carnival a few weekends ago. On our way back to our car, I showed them the room near the back of the church that has all the candles. You can light one and say a prayer, surrounded by statues of Mary and Jesus and Joseph, and yeah, who's that guy back there? Oh, that's St. Jude.

Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases. Patron Saint of Unending Head Pain. Patron Saint of Sad People.

Or, that cool guy with the flame on his head.

Don't you wish you could walk around like that sometimes? Decked out in a spectacular flame? And you could answer people like this. Yes, why yes. Of course I've been touched by the Holy Spirit.

I'm doing a novena to St. Jude now, but it has nothing to do with my headaches. I've learned, since being diagnosed with migraines, that there is actually something called Chronic Daily Headaches. So while I may feel desperate and like a hopeless case in the midst of this pain, I've been informed that it could be worse. Like, every day worse. That would suck.

Maybe I'll write about the novena specifics some day. Probably not.

I remember, when I was younger, the area I lived in had a weekly circular called The Penny Saver. It advertised garage sales and appliances and estate sales and pets for sale and all manner of things. There were personals in there, and tucked within the personal were spaces dedicated to St. Jude, prayers and thanks for answers received. I used to read them, even though most said exactly the same thing, and wondered why someone had to take out an ad. Multiple ads. Multiple people. All saying the same thing.

I understand now. If my novena is answered with a yes, I think I might have to rent a billboard.

If it's a no, though, I get it. I would get the reasons why.

Still, I might just have to start another one. I wonder if a saint can be worn down, if they're like, Jesus...again? That woman is tenacious!

St. Jude, Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases Who Are Still Plucky and Determined Despite Being Sad and Headachey. I do believe that has an interesting ring to it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Day Will Not Come Again

When am I going to learn that 'vigil' means the night prior? I missed the Feast of the Ascension, and mass for two weekends in a row, and I'm feeling rather aimless, like I'm floating in the ocean, wearing only swimmies.

Very unprepared. And drifting.

I checked my parish's website and found that all the morning masses were -- surprise -- ones that I couldn't attend.

Did I tell you that the last time I attended mass, the celebrant used a decent amount of Latin? Also not good. And I feel bad about saying that, because there once was a time everything was in Latin and then there was a huge sea change, and I bet the old-schoolers felt out of it and unhappy. Something beloved was different. I know how hard that is to swallow. There is something restorative in the cadence of words we know by heart. Words we could recite in our sleep.

The new translations are coming. Can I tell you how bereft I am that I'll have to give up Lord I am not worthy to receive you? It's going to be replaced with something like Lord I am not worthy to welcome you under my roof. That's not it exactly, but the gist is there. And although both statements are completely true, I have a fondness for the one I've said forever.

Some people have said that because the words are so familiar, people tend to zone out while saying them, and that maybe a change will bring new life to mass. I'm going to have an open mind, though I say that with a grumpy look on my face and defiantly crossed arms.

Since I'm scattered and feeling apart right now, I'm going to close with some Thomas Merton. I began thumbing through Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander last night, and was a bit dismayed to find that a lot of it is esoteric. He's quoting this philosopher or this theologian. It will take some work to read it. But there are some brief parts where Merton is describing his surroundings at Gethsemani, and it's like taking a coffee break while listening to a lengthy talk on foreign policy.

A sweet summer afternoon. Cool breezes and a clear sky. This day will not come again. The young bulls lie under a tree in the corner of their field. Quiet afternoon. Blue hills. Day lilies nod in the wind. This day will not come again.