Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. 


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Day Four

I Cry Out to You

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you.
Psalm 28:2

Living with illness gives us a strange gift. When we live with a body that is compromised in some way, we discover our need of others and our need of God. It is a gift to discover this need, though it may be completely disconcerting.

Most of us are socialized to be self-sufficient and independent. Acknowledging that we are each a part of a vast, interdependent web of life may be a completely new perspective. And yet it is the truth. None of us is truly self-sufficient. None of us brought ourselves into being.

In the words of C.S. Lewis, there is a “severe mercy” that is offered in living with illness. Our illusions of not needing one another fall apart. We may need help walking or need a friend to help us with errands. We may need financial support. We may need someone to talk to. And in that awareness of our need, we come upon this truth: we are contingent beings, dependent upon God for our life and our relationships.

Awakening to this truth  brings us to deeper prayer. We cry out to God, asking for healing, asking for companions in the pilgrimage of illness, asking for release from pain. In the crying out, we allow ourselves to be honest and vulnerable, and something new can begin. Living with illness may grant us the severe mercy of becoming real.

For this day, this moment, may I cry out the desires of my heart. May I trust that You will hear every groan, every sigh, every tear. Amen.

Practice: <listen>

Reflect on the phrase “severe mercy.” What severe mercies have you experienced as a result of your illness? Make note of them as they occur to you. If there are as yet no mercies in your experience, note that as well. Be honest with yourself and take that honesty into prayer.

REFERENCE NOTE: All psalms are from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.