This post from The Anchoressreally struck a chord with me, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it here. In a strange coincidence, I will be posting this on both this blog and my Catholic Girl blog, since they have to do with both health and faith, two things very close to me.
The Anchoress talks about the day her doctor told her she was losing her hearing due to Lyme Disease. Well, having lost a good deal of my hearing due to drugs pre-tx, I can relate to her feelings of shock and dismay. And even anger. Both her sons are musicians. I am a musician. Of all the things that had been taken from me, this was the one that really hit home. I mean, it was what I did. I was a singer. I had been trained in classical singing. Music was the thing for me. In college, I really developed and ear and was coming up with good relative pitch (OK, not as good as Tiff, who has perfect pitch, but we can't all be perfect). We first noticed (well, my friends noticed) in my later years at college that I wouldn't hear them when they asked me things, or were talking to me. I chalked it up as being distracted or involved in my work. Even as a kid, when I was reading, if you tried to talk to me it could be very hard to get my attention.
But I didn't just have good hearing, I had great hearing. I could hear my name being whispered two rooms away. It drove my parents crazy. I never did the loud rock concerts, loud walkmans, whatever, that ruins your hearing. And yet, the drugs that saved my life in the end took away quite a bit of it.
Fortunately, God has blessed me with the ability to still have my music. Some of the upper, upper registers are gone but I have pretty good musical memory. And that's what singing is, hearing the pitch in your head. So if it's a song I know (and, thank God, I know many) I'm OK. I can go to musicals that I've known and loved and still enjoy them. I can learn new pieces, as well, and my musicals abilities haven't abandoned me. In regular conversation, however, it's another story. People get frustrated because I can't hear them. Well, I'm frustrated because I can't hear them. When I'm in a noisy restaurant and everyone's complaining because they can't hear each other, I always say, "welcome to my world." It makes them a bit more conscious. There's nothing more inane about being mad at someone for being unable to physically do something. It's stupid.
The Anchoress also writes about the Dark Night of the Soul, how God uses people in their weakness. I love the concept of the Dark Night. To me, it is very comforting to know that those who are closest to God can also be, at times, the farthest from him. St. Terese of Avila, I believe, calls these periods of "aridity," like being in the desert. Immediately before St. Therese of Lisieux's death, she was in severe aridity. She couldn't pray, she doubted her vocation, she doubted the existence of Heaven. Now I haven't doubted the existence of Heaven, but I have been in one of these periods lately. Not just because of the hearing problems, but because of the health issues overall, and how dependent they can make you. Dependent on other people, when we all want to be as independent as possible. We don't want other people giving us meds, washing our hair. These are things we have been able to do since childhood, or can handle ourselves. To be reduced to an almost sub-child position can be intolerable. But to not have the support is the worst of all. And when it seems God is silent...
I remember something I read once, from a letter Mother Teresa wrote to her confessor (I think). She said that sometimes she found her mission almost too hard to accept. She couldn't do it. And she would pick up her rosary, very deliberately, and just say it. The Creed. The Our Father. The Hail Marys. The mysteries. Just going through it, almost, if I may say, mechanically, until she reached the end. And it would be enough.
I have taken this strategy to heart. When it is too much, I take my beads, whichever set is handy, and just pray them, letting whatever is in my heart be opened and presented before God and Mary. They know what is there. And, in the end, it is enough.
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