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O troubled soul,
do not let falling
get you down.
We are not owed, we are owing.
Born to contradictions, day and night,
to tumble, to suffer, to
lament, to be rained on,
and to crawl out of the muck
panting and straining but alive,
more in love with life than ever.
Over and over we rise,
phoenixes, miracles —
the heart does not fail.
Love does not fail.
God does not fail.
Six long weeks: That’s how long I’ve been dealing with a one-two knockout combo of pneumonia and acute bronchitis. I am 90% healed now, by the grace of God, but still dealing with two minor complaints — mild pain in my chest and the loss of my upper register. My voice, my singing voice anyway, is gone.
This (mostly) has not caused me much woe. I do enjoy singing, around the house and in church. It is disconcerting to reach for a note and have nothing come out of one’s mouth. I miss how pretty my voice could sound. But I have faith that it will return eventually.
More disconcerting, by far, was the loss of my other voice — my writing voice. I’ve been absent from this blog for three weeks, mostly out of exhaustion and a need to heal. But those are not the only reasons. My illness made me lose my voice, the one I use to reach out to others, the one I need to delve into my own soul. It is difficult to feel creative when one’s life has been reduced to a preoccupation with drawing breath. Just inflating my lungs without pain was enough of a project to sustain me.
Or was it? Yes, when a person is sick, her world becomes smaller, more focused on her physical being. But it doesn’t mean her inner life stops altogether. It gets put on hold, perhaps. It gets stifled, maybe.
A good friend told me that in Eastern medicine, diseases of the lung are often associated with grief, especially unresolved grief. I have that in spades. And it made me think: Maybe that last 10%, that last push to the finish line of wellness that my body has yet to travel…maybe I need to heal my soul before my body can follow.
So here it is: Please, God, help to express what is unexpressed in me. Bring back my voice, loud and clear, so that my vocal cords might follow.
This may take some time. In the meantime, I’ll practice. I hope you won’t mind — it might not sound so good at first. Please be patient with me.
Help me to hear your voice in my heart and in my soul.
When I am tempted to speak out in Your name,
Give me a moment to pause so that I may listen to You.
Only then, may I speak.
I have to admit that I was surprised when our choir director picked this particular piece for Mother’s Day. But then, I’m Presbyterian and we don’t pray the Hail Mary. Obviously, I’ve heard this piece of music but didn’t know the meaning behind it until Zack explained it to us.
The Ave is the angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary. Catholics, including Zack, know this as the Hail Mary prayer. The Ave simply sets it to music.
Hail Mary and bless you. Through you, we are all blessed with God’s grace and mercy. Where would we be if you had declined?