The issues are complicated. (Mind you, I doubt anyone rocks up to this clinic with a simple problem and a simple solution. ‘You’re banana-deficient: here! Eat this…and may your womb be blessed’). Add in our faith-based treatment qualms and you get a laughing consultant who, at our last appointment, asked if we understood percentages. (Though in fairness to the doctor, I don’t. Glen had to explain with pictures of apples and oranges. He’s very good).
I’m not a massive fan of hospitals either. Anorexia is writ large on my case notes and I always leave feeling like a Really Bad Girl who’s Let Everyone Down. In the scale of proper illnesses, I’m just a silly wee time-waster who wouldn’t eat. Of course I have issues now. What did I expect? A medal for persistence?
So I take my prescription… self-administered of course:
Go home and think about what you did and think about what you did and think about what you did. Think about it when you get sick because your digestion doesn’t work. Think about it when the blue strip comes up negative again. Think about it in the bone scan and the blood tests and the scraping of chairs and skin and the silence of the waiting room. Think about it when you see your husband looking hungrily at the other dads. Think about it when you share your story and watch the faces change. Think about it in the rising and the setting. Think about it when you lie down and when you wake up. Think about it till you’re exhausted because you haven’t got a solution.
Think about the body you tried to burn. Feelings like a forest-fire, licking around your ankles and bursting into blame.
Think about your solutions. You hosed down the bad self, but the good one drowned too. You untethered your life and watched as it sank. You self-harmed to stop feeling but that worked too well. So you self-harmed to break the numbness; to feel something instead. Now you are back at the hospital. Eating disorder. Digestive disorder. Skin disorder. Womb disorder. Everything changes and everything stays the same. The circles widen and decrease, but you wonder if you ever break out. It’s in your blood. The disorder is you.
It’s hard to keep wanting. To bare a soft throat of hope before the nails of accusation. But whether you rub yourself out or fence yourself in – you’re all alone. If you look to yourself, you lose yourself too.
This post is clumsy – inappropriate. There are rules you see. Don’t talk about it. Or if you must – then report from the the safe distance of “prayers answered” and “God’s timing proved best.”
Raw can be ugly and it feels ungodly too. But is that what God wants? The cleaned-up, pretend me with the neat answers and the unswerving faith? Or the real person, slipping in sadness but clinging to hope?
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
A woman shaped by suffering and sadness. Desperate for help and desperate for answers. Pressing in with the needy crowd. Who knows what will happen. Can He? Will He? Will He now?
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Twelve years of suffering, gone in an instant. She’s got what she wants from Jesus and she’s free to go. Right?
Here’s what actually happens:
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
This woman came to Jesus with a specific problem. A sickness that she wanted to get zapped. She thinks she knows Jesus, just like she thinks she knows her greatest need. But this doctor is different to the rest. This doctor offers a relationship, not just an appointment. ‘Sit down’ he says. ‘Let me give you peace. Let me call you daughter. Rest in my presence. Let me show you how to live. ”
I don’t know if I’ll get zapped. I’m not feeling the peace. But still, I’m pressing in.