Sunday, March 22, 2015

Catholic Hermit's Personal Suffering

[The following is long and disjointed.  Quite boring to any reader and unnecessary, it is cathartic for the hermit in reflection upon its personal suffering, upon yet another day of pain siege, among many such pain sieges in the course of the last 31 years--ever since the life-altering, crucifying car accident and all that flowed from that Golgotha.  In fact, the accident occurred at the top of a hill in Pacific Palisades, CA--at the pinnacle of the nothing's marriage, career, health, and temporal whatever else.]

Yesterday, when in such bodily pain as well as the mind-and-heart pain that physical pain seems to enervate, the soul itself offered prayers and supplications with silent cries and inner tears.  (And it would have been all right to do so with loud cries and tangible tears, too!)  The point is, there was a sorrow within this hermit, hard to describe.

This morning, some of the reasons for the prayers and supplications, the silent cries and inner tears.  It has to do with some personal realities as well as acceptance of seeming irreverence and the matters in this life, that one cannot change.  Only God can effect the conversions; only God can correct the inconsistencies--even those which infiltrate His Church.

This nothing-consecrated-Catholic-hermit is yet again trying to accept the reality of its life of suffering.  The physical pain is intractable and severe.  Intense pain sieges occur more frequently and are exacerbated by activities and noise, conversation or being around people, driving, doing errands, being in traffic, sitting (especially on soft, padded chairs or pews), reclining on soft mattresses of sofas, doing too much manual labor or being in bed too much, as well.  

Standing on concrete floors, or standing in one place such as when cooking or even trying to sew--standing in one spot with sewing machine set up high atop books stacked on counter or ironing board to best height--causes increased pain and can be certain herald of pain siege the next day. Even the tones and calibers of some voices cause increased pain, or the sensed essences of some persons' souls can directly affect the pain level, up or down.

Years ago, the orthopedic surgeon ordered a test to determine the degree of pain this body could detect and handle.  The body was wired to some calibrated machine.  The technician would turn up the power in increments; this then not-hermit-and-not-Catholic-but-devout-Christian was to say if it could feel and could handle the electric pain stimulus and to what degree.

The technician kept asking:  Do you feel that?  Is it too much to bear?  The response was, "Yes, can feel it; yes, can bear it." Finally, after seemingly a long time of increasing electrical volts, the technician exclaimed, "This is too much!  I cannot continue!  We are at "45", and grown mean are screaming at 15!  You have an incredible ability to bear so much pain, but I cannot in good conscience take it any higher!"

After that, the orthopedic surgeon had an entirely different attitude toward his patient.  With tears in his eyes, he apologized for having questioned if the pain was "psychological".  He was so sorry, but this body and this life would not be able to return to its career and not likely any other, for the pain level was too great even though the patient was doing all it could to distract itself.  A second opinion with a noted surgeon at Scripps-LaJolla, concluded the same. That specialist shook his head and intoned seriously, sadly,  "I'm sorry.  You will have to learn to live a life you never dreamed you'd ever have to live."

Aside from this aside, yesterday's pain level and total depletion of energy brought back these memories. Sometimes memories are a good thing, such as these.  It helped the hermit to once more accept that God knows all that is best for us and has His reasons for allowing certain life alterations and experiences. 

Another aspect of the suffering is the guilt.  There is guilt and emotional pain for how the suffering affected the three beloved and beautiful children the hermit was blessed to rear in this life.  At one juncture point, in the recovery room after back surgery, the hermit died.  It went on to an anteroom of eternity, in which it encountered Love:  God, the Source of All Beingness and Energy, the Three-in-One.   The hermit was all set to go on into such purity of joy and love beyond all telling.  But just then, God showed in a thought-flash, the images of the innocent little children being with their other parent who had left; God showed the person's terrible temper and then suggested fulfilling a mission, for later on.  Oh.  Then God asked if wanted to go on or be sent back.  

God Is Love, and the hermit could not say which for its heart was torn in so wanting to continue on into eternity, free of pain and with love-defying-description.  The most it could thought-flash in answer to God was:  Whatever You will, O Lord.  Immediately the soul was returned to its body, watching from above as it re-entered the hospital, then the recovery room, seeing the surgeon berating the anesthesiologist for bungling a resuscitation attempt.  It saw the nurses hovering over its unmoving, non-breathing body--one with hand held slightly above the body's nose and mouth, trying to detect any breath. 

Then the hermit "saw" and "sensed" it re-entering its own body and immediacy of tangible, horrific pain.  Unbeknown in that moment of time, this soul was wedded for life to this tangible pain.  There is more to this lengthy and meandering tale, including a rushed second surgery to ascertain and correct what caused the cardiac arrest and death--and the medical staffs' wonderment at the miraculous return to life. All that is another story, not for now.

The guilt, though, that the hermit feels is that the life it had to live of substantial, constant, bodily pain, made life erratic and altered for the children.  While those years with the children are the prized and beloved of its entire life, the hermit tried so hard to provide, sacrifice, and make what was horribly sad and depleted from active, financially stable, two-parent home to a financially strapped, disabled, one-parent home--and that one parent erratic in learning pain management, and losing its career, its insurance, its ability to live a "normal" life.

The hermit tried so hard to provide and to uplift creatively, so that the innocent children would not be deprived to a pathetic degree, of opportunities and of sheer delight and fun.  Why should their lives be altered and hindered?  

The pain sieges were far more frequent then.  The rawness of pain was new; the body, mind, heart, and spirit were unaccustomed to such constant crucifixion.  But the guilt--or whatever it is--comes in when it realizes now, that the added activity, conversation, cooking, driving, disciplining, attempting to maintain a house, to explore other means of increasing the drastically lowered income post-divorce and career--caused increased pain and more pain sieges, more days in bed, and the tears and agony involved, as well as being given injections of pain medication that would sedate their parent for two-to-three days.  

Sometimes their parent would be in bed for a week or more; sometimes kind people from their Protestant Church would take the children for those days, splitting them up but providing more rest for the parent and a diversion from an agonized and bed-ridden parent.  Life was lived with others having to fill in for all kinds of activities, responsibilities, and financial assistance.  

Anyway, as the children grew, went off to college, and then out into their successful adult lives, the now-Catholic-hermit was able to physically endure more--due to the silence, solitude, and lessened activity and responsibilities due to being physically alone.  And that, of course, is rather a sad thought and reality.  It makes the hermit weep to think that what it loved most in this world, were hindered in many ways due to this parent rearing them, not the other who ended in life being financially successful and quite "normal" as far as a creature adept in the temporal world.  

But as for this parent, with the deep, spiritual reality of how great and real God Is, Who revealed Himself to this soul and this soul met Face to Face in that death experience--the parent became very religious, very spiritual, very dedicated to the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The motto-purpose for its life and in rearing the children manifested:  To Glorify God.

Yet now, the parent has obeyed His Real Presence not just in entering the Catholic Church nearly 21 years ago, but also in answering God's call to the hermit vocation--a call that was expressed some nine years prior to the Catholic conversion call.  And there are times in which it still feels guilty, somehow, that the adult children do not understand, or perhaps feel they are not loved, nor grasp the pain situation, nor the interior, supernatural realities.  Two have abandoned Christianity and God altogether.  The third is Christian but not at all impressed with the Catholic Church--and that due to the various persecutions of the parent that were rather public and obvious when they occurred.  

That this mistreatment of some Catholics by Catholics is sadly typical of the life of a Catholic mystic, it is not something the adult children accept.  It is hard for the hermit to willingly and graciously accept, at times.  Why does it have to be this way?  Ah, to learn obedience through what is suffered, to pick up the cross daily and follow Jesus Christ. And mystics are not exclusive to the Catholic Church, although they seem more prevalent, or at least written and studied.  Still, this is His Church, the one He instituted, even though He has allowed reforms along the way--caused both by abuses of some in the Church hierarchy and the power-lust struggles of some political leaders. 

Regardless the many aspects of individual and family suffering, no matter the misunderstanding of the suffering and of how hard the parent tried to do all to provide a beautiful childhood and instill the Christian tenets and ideals, to live by example--imperfect but sincere--a Christ-loved life, it now does not seem enough.  But it is not over yet--not until we each meet our earthly end and come to the eternal judgment of His Real Presence.  

And, if the adult children were close and cohesive, and living the Christian lives of which they were taught and lived as children, and all of one faith--perhaps the hermit would be drawn out from its vocational calling as a consecrated Catholic hermit.  The temptation would be great to do so. The Lord has told it in the witnessed presence of Dr. H., that if the physical pain were eased, this soul would be back out into the world--and the Lord did not will that.  It is so true!  Any dollop of doting love and affection, of being wanted and needed, can quite melt a parent's heart, no matter how old nor how adult and independent are its children! 

At times--even in this current pain siege--the hermit does wonder if the hermit life was ordained for its being long, long ago.  Surely this is so:  When the soul was placed in its parentally, conjugally-conceived first-cells. Surely so.  But at other times, the hermit yet wonders why such painful strictures set and strapped firm? Then it marvels at just how silent and solitary, prayerful and reverent, the hermit must be--called from the world in not what seems stricter, but what at times seems strictest separation from the world.

Perhaps the answers, aside from God's not wanting this soul to be tempted back out into the "world", reside in His Living Word.  Turn to His Real Presence for answers, not to the memories, guilts, and questions of the past sorrows of this life.  Trust in Him; He has the answers.  

Be thankful for the reality that all is only temporary in this world; and that there is yet hope for our souls, for our children's souls, for all souls Christian and not.  In praise and prayer, keep faith, hope and charity alive!  Remain in His Real Presence; remain in His Love!

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