Dad has been doing quite well. However, about a week ago, he developed a lot of pain in the eye which had suffered a botched up cataract operation many years ago. The eye had always been problematic, but last week it was worse than usual, terribly red and very painful. I sent photos of the eye to Dr. Gopal of Neptune Hospital, who had successfully operated on Dad’s other eye, and who had so very graciously treated for free an auto driver-friend’s daughter whom we had taken to show him (he ended up saving the sight of the little girl who had lost 60% of sight in one eye), and then started the drops that he recommended. Into the third day now, there is some relief, but the pain keeps coming back, and the eye has only marginally reduced in redness. Perhaps, the wrongly placed lens has come loose, or the basal membrane has completely ruptured, I don’t know. I’ll consult with the doctor tomorrow, and as taking Dad anywhere is quite difficult now, I’m praying for God’s intervention and help as Dad’s 91 year old body struggles to handle the pain; help, both for Dad as well as for myself as I struggle to deal with the situation with its implications, see-sawing emotions and the return of that familiar, should I say, friend, pain.
Today was a rare day of having time for myself and I used it catching up on news and blog posts of people that I follow. One particular blog that has been a personal favourite and great blessing is Soul Surmise written by Steve Stockman, a poet I love whose album Grace Notes produced with singer Sam Hill, I had picked up years ago in a tiny book shop in the little mountain town of Kalimpong in North Bengal (what are the chances of that album reaching there, and my being the person to pick it up at that time?? I’ve never seen that album anywhere else subsequently, and no one I’ve talked to has heard of Steve Stockman or Sam Hill). I have a lot to say about Steve Stockman, but you can explore who he is on his blog link above.
Anyway, it was a shock to read today that his mother passed away suddenly last week. The post was raw, vulnerable, painfully honest and very, very poignant, and my heart went out to a man whom I’ve never met, who has no idea that I exist, but who feels very familiar to me; as though I’ve known him for years.
As I prayed for him and his family, and wrote a message to him through, on looking back now, a rather presumptuous means of contacting him, I felt both the presence of Pain as well as the wonder of Presence…the Presence of the Spirit of God like a close hug, in which you can quietly come to pieces and it’s all right; the real presence of a man whom I’ve never met, but who is really my brother because of the same Spirit, and these overshadow the very real presence of the Pain of life and experience that unites people, breaking and shattering completely every wall that may presume to divide. It’s these presences that peek through the circumstances of life.
Reflecting on Steve’s post and my dad’s eye, I’m reminded of C.S.Lewis’ dark days following the death of his wife, where everything was stripped away, and loving friends came around. How much the loving face of God is encased in the warmth of friends who feel the pain and do what they can to wipe away tears, blood and sweat. I don’t know what I would have done without the few friends who walked with us through the dark months of my family’s pain, and I’m grateful for friends who are around me, who stand in the gap, who help and encourage.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and how I will deal with further complications with my dad’s eye, but I know that it is so above my ability to handle it, that it is perfect ground for God to be Himself, and that His power will be made perfect in my weakness and limitations. The leaves are only themselves; it’s the sun that gives them a glory and beauty not their own, when its light is allowed to peek through. No pain is every wasted by God.
It’s held sacred in His loving hands and He will redeem its effects,
until something of worth and value is left…
…if we but let Him.