Warning: This post is Lenten in theme.
On Monday morning, St. Patrick’s Day, I took my oldest son Joe to have a cyst removed. We were due at the surgical center at 6:00 a.m., which meant getting up before dawn and navigating an unfamiliar neighborhood in the dark.
I got lost, naturally, and grew increasingly flustered.
I got lost AND the “no gas” light came on.
“Just stop at a gas station,” my son advised, which I did (pride and punctuality be damned). Thrusting the gas nozzle into the tank, I asked a couple of guys at the opposite pump for directions. They scratched their heads; they tried unsuccessfully to be helpful. “Thanks anyway,” I told them, and turned back to my pump. It was still at $0.00, waiting for me to punch in more numbers.
Groaning and seeing that it was now 6:20, I got back into the car without getting gas.
“But–” my son said.
“We’ll be fine,” I told him. He wasn’t convinced.
Accelerating out of the gas station lot, I received an angry beep from a guy pulling in. “What the heck,” I muttered, embarrassed, as I turned onto yet another unfamiliar road. And THEN—like a tinny foghorn within the depths of my purse—my cell phone rang. “This is Michelle from Health East Medical,” said a voice. “Everything okay?”
“I’m lost!” I told her.
“You’re not the first,” she laughed.
We arrived at the building ten minutes later, to my great relief and my son’s outspoken annoyance. “Look,” I said. “One day it’ll be you driving around a big city in the dark. It’s not that easy, so don’t be dissin’ your ma!”
“I’m not dissing you,” he said, holding the door open. “If I were, you’d be crying.”
“You’re still dissing me!” I said, indignant.
Michelle was waiting for us at the desk, smiling. (I refrained from embracing her.) She took down our info, had me sign some forms, and led us back to where a nurse was waiting. From there, things were very much same-day surgery. My son undressed and put on a surgical gown. The nurse led him over to the hospital bed and tucked his hair into a paper shower cap. “I need to insert the IV,” she told him gently. “I’m good at what I do!” she added, laughing. “So try not to be nervous.”
But my son was nervous; I could tell.
I watched him carefully.
Perhaps it’s my melancholic nature, but I have a side to me that’s always “worst case scenario.” This is good, I guess, in that I pray…a lot. (I HAVE to pray, lest I faint clean away.) As I sat by Joe’s bed with my Magnificat in hand, I thought, just imagine if this nurse were cruel and abusive. I thought about Mary at the side of her Son.
I thought, this is nothing.
I thought, suffering is hard!
The people administering to Joe were kind, and yet still I was fearful; still I wanted to hold him close. I thought, “Mary, how strong you were to watch Our Lord suffer so much.” I can’t imagine….yet during Lent, we must try.
Epilogue: It was only a cyst, a little pea-sized cyst, and yet my mother’s heart knew fear and worry. My mother’s heart wanted to spare my son!
Silly, right? Not at all.
If I can suffer with Him, it’s worth it.
PS. I don’t have a photo of my son in his gown.