–Part IV: Sorrow Lasts for the Night–
The promise of healing….It was such a concrete objective to watch come to pass, or to pass me by. And one in which my heart was so heavily invested.
I held my breath with the most cautious of hope.
As many of us do, I read and love CS Lewis. In fact, he greets me (in excerpts) in my inbox each day. Two mornings past the dream, Narnia brought me a foreboding word of instruction. When my eyes fell up on it, the weight of truth sank instantly in, and I knew that its message was no idle story.
“But long before she had got anywhere near the edge, the voice behind her said, “Stand still. In a moment I will blow. But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell—” (from The Silver Chair by CS Lewis, which is a part of the Chronicles of Narnia)
Reading it again, just now, tears spring fresh to my eyes. Rarely has a word landed with such a holy and scalpel sharp weight.
I was to take the dream in hand, remember it, hold on. The fulfillment would not look at all as I was expecting, and the atmosphere of the journey would grow murky and confusing. Doubt would be my constant assailant, but I was to keep repeating the signs and work my way through…or the mission would be compromised.
It was a timely piece of intel.
Three days later, the rains of pain began to fall, and downpour they did. Like the stinging, sideways, upways, downways, always rains of Vietnam, the deluge fell on full. But from what source?
We set our response to pain based on the intentions of the one inflicting it. If a man carries a knife in one hand and death in the other, we run like mad. But if he wears a white coat and holds his blade with skill to heal, we’ll lay down gladly before his hand.
In the moment, pain’s identity was cloaked. It was impossible to ask the shadow in the door, “Are you friend or foe? Are you here to kill or heal?”
The “healing reactions” Gerson warns of are a welcomed thing, and a sign of progress. The body is fighting a war on the cellular and chemical level in order to clear all obstacles to health. Having weathered my share of healing storms, I was well acquainted with the peals of fever, ache, anxiety, and pain.
It’s in these periods that Doubt dares rise from his hiding place along the path and screams, “Is this really another healing reaction, or are you just failing? You know, don’t you, that this will be the state of your body forever”
But this time the course was different. Doubt had lost his voice.
Even in the watches of the night when the slightest shift of weight locked my body in a searing freeze of nerve pain, the sharp breaths were drawn through lips parted in a strangely patient smile.
Ambush depends on surprise, and it was I who was waiting. I had been warned of this trouble beforehand and the truth watched over me like a golden Lion.
It’s not that I fought despair hand to hand and won- it’s that I was protected even from his approach.
Through endless midnight laps of my house, laughter and buoyant mirth kept watch with me.
I felt like a fool to be so unconcerned. The outer man surely seemed to be perishing, but the inner man was being renewed, bounding, laughing, seeing, singing, leaping… I was threadbare, but the yoke was gossamer thin. There was, against all logic, a fountain spring of joy.
At the same time my body wavered frail, our finances ran out. And He who provided during pain provided during pennilessness. We were fed like sparrows, and we lacked for nothing. Checks arrived unlooked for, work calls came while in the midst of prayer, the mortgage and electric bills which are on auto-draft had both somehow been overpaid, and needed no extra funds. Again and again in the most hilarious and wonderful ways, our needs were met.
We felt that we had stumbled upon a great secret. He can be trusted.