An experience with shingles has left me with memories that will always stay with me. Things started with an awareness that the virus has been within me since I was seven years old. For decades I have carried a potential threat naively, innocently, and blindly – unaware. Despite periodic examinations and clean bills of health, there was a silent and patient enemy within. It was waiting for the conditions that would set it free.
As strong as I thought I was, there are times in life where pain trumps. I always knew that pain could dominate the moment. I understood that pain could be the only thing I could think about for a short period of time. In this moment a new reality dominated everything. I found myself telling anyone willing to listen; “All my insides are on fire, my body is a wreck.” (Psalm 38.7) Every painkiller prescribed and even those that were not, consumed as quickly as the parameters allowed. Each moment was a quiet eternity. The worst came with the night’s darkness. My tiredness battled with icy pain stabs that ensured sleep was never going to embrace me.
A lingering realization was that for the first time I found it hard to care about anything else. Work, it could wait. Emails, they will be where they are tomorrow. Commitments, postponed, neglected, or at best excuses made. The only thing that my mind could focus on was the pain and the fear and uncertainty of when it would strike next.
I look back, remembering with a refreshed awareness of how fragile our lives are. We carry our enemies within us. Each is unique, shaped by our actions and lives in ways we cannot imagine. They can strike at any time.
I see that help is a good thing. Even when I think I can do it by myself, help makes is easier, more fun, and something shared. Community trumps again.
As much as I care, only Divinity will help me always care. It is not something I can consistently do. Divinity is willing. Carpe diem.