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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Courage

Elsah, Illinois
"Awww Mary u just gave me chills!!! Yes u always have to have courage and keep Faith!! I love u mary n I will keep u in our prayers."

"We bear the silence, cross and pain

of human burdens, human strife,
While sisters, brothers help sustain
our courage till the feast of life."

"Courage is not the absence of fear; it is being afraid but doing what you have to do anyway."


Little did I know that "courage" would be on my mind far more in the last week since I posted this last statement on a previous blog. 


The first quotation is a Facebook message from my former student T . My colleagues and I were probably more involved in her life than in any other student in Family Literacy. As I lay awake tethered to IVs during the night and as I lay in the MRI with unrelenting sound pounding in my ears, not knowing what would be found in my brain, I thought about T and how she told me that she had to have courage to cope with her difficult life. Although she left our program twice in anger, she came back a third time with courage and determination. We were both grateful that we gave each other another chance. I messaged her on Facebook this week and told her I was thinking about her during those rough hours and this was her response.

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This morning we sang Throughout These Lenten Days and Nights as part of our worship. The third stanza spoke to my heart. Our theme in church during Lent is the community of believers and I have felt that gift profoundly. So many called or emailed or texted or Facebook messaged. Our pastor visited, our elder contacted us and today I was welcomed back with so many warm greetings and hugs. That support did give me courage.

I am probably just fine. This "transient global amnesia," if that is what it is, may never happen again. But it is such a reminder to me and to Jim, who watched me helplessly and wondered if this would be his life from that moment on, that we are mortal and the years ahead may only bring more of this kind of deterioration of our bodies and minds. But to dwell on that is not at all helpful. So I will be grateful to feel well, to have the support of others and to know that "Bidden or Not Bidden, God is Present."


And one more thought a day later to add to my theme:


Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

(from the lectionary for today--a slightly different translation of Psalm 23 from the Bishop's site)

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