The other day I was sitting on the couch, and I was feeling great, which was a surprise considering the negative side effects I’ve been having from my parasite antibiotic. And then it dawned on me. People are praying for me. It was so real in that moment – like I could literally feel people’s prayers floating over to me and being absorbed into my body and soul. I’ve never felt that before. No one had even mentioned that that he or she was praying for me, and yet I knew someone was. More than one person. I just knew it.
When I pray, I try to believe that my prayers are making a difference, but most of the time I’ll never, ever know for sure. When I was sitting on the couch, feeling people’s prayers, I suddenly realized that my prayers were reaching the miners trapped in Chile, and they were reaching the missionaries in India, and they were reaching my friends all around the States – even though it often seems like my prayers are spoken and then float away into nothingness. But these prayers are changing and affecting each person’s life, and when people pray for me it changes and affects my life.
Prayer is such a weird thing. I think that many Christians grapple with the idea of whether or not our prayers really change anything, because like I said, most of the time we never know. And then there’s the whole “I prayed for something and it didn’t happen” catastrophe. Why didn’t I get that YMCA job? I was on my knees praying for it daily. Why didn’t I get any of those other jobs? Again, I was on my knees in prayer. Why didn’t Shannon’s dad live, when she prayed and believed that he would? Why why why?
We may gather some kind of insight as life continues, but we’ll probably never know in its entirety why the things we prayed for didn’t come true.
My favorite pastor, Rich Nathan, once said something a few years ago that has stuck with me ever since: “I’m glad I follow a God who asked the question why.” My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Oh man Jesus, I feel you sometimes.
Today was a rough day. I decided to raise my antibiotic dosage again, because staring at the seemingly endless amount of pills made it seem like I was living the same day over and over again. I just want it to be over. Also, I am worried that by lessening my dosage I won’t actually kill off the parasite. So I started taking an extra pill yesterday, which still isn’t even as much as I’m supposed to be taking.
I could barely get out of bed this morning. My body and soul were wrecked. But I made myself get up and change clothes and walk around and talk on the phone. And then I couldn’t take it anymore. I got back into bed, and fell into this not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake fog for the entire afternoon. When I “woke up” I started bawling. For NO REASON. I mean, it was the antibiotic, I knew, but it was still freaky. I’ve cried because I’ve been depressed and angry and numb and pms’y before, but this was entirely different, because I’m not any of those things right now.
I was trying to think of how to describe this phenomenon. It’s weird…it’s almost like I don’t feel human. My body doesn’t feel like my body, and my soul doesn’t feel like my soul. All this from taking an couple of pills a day. FREAKY.
It makes me think about people who are undergoing chemotherapy. I know my side effects are hardly a taste of what they are going through, but it makes me think of them with a whole new appreciation. I can barely last a couple of weeks – those people must be strong.
It also makes me think about people who suffer from clinical depression. I just can’t imagine this EVERY DAY. Ugh.
Who knew that when I drank the water back in Cambodia it would lead me to solidarity with cancer patients and those who are depressed?
All I know is I’d better start praying for them.