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


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Day Fourteen

Afflicted and in Pain

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

As for me, I am afflicted and in pain.
—Psalm 69:31

Some years ago I read an article by a woman who was learning to live with an auto-immune disease. She discovered that she had been trying to “pass” for healthy. In other words, the last thing she would let herself know was that she was afflicted and in pain.

It may be that the hardest movement for you in living with illness is the movement of admitting that you are ill. Only when we let ourselves know that truth can we begin to create balance and live in such a way that our life with illness is life. Allowing the truth of the limitations of the illness to delineate our daily patterns allows us to live the truth in love.

What would your life look like if you found a creative balance particular to the needs of your body? What if you found yourself able to live with the illness, with its particular necessities and boundaries? What if you were able to tell the truth, in prayer and to yourself, about your experience and your life?

O Christ of Love and Truth, grant me the grace to let myself know the steps to take to honor the life You offer me. May my life with this illness be marked by honesty and prayer. Amen.

Practice: <listen>

Reflect on the adjustments that have been necessitated by living with your particular illness. What has been the easiest for you? What has been the hardest? How have you allowed yourself to accept the limitations the illness has presented? As you reflect, if you discover something that seems stuck, allow that to come to prayer. For example, “Gracious God, I know that I need to refrain from eating sugar in order to live with the diabetes. Help my appetite to change, and grant me the desire to honor the life that you have given me.” 

Reference Note: All  psalms are taken from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.