Showing posts with label Injury. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Injury. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Palm Sunday Graces in the Urgent Care

A few days before Palm Sunday, I injured my left shoulder while exercising. By Saturday night, the pain was so bad that I could barely sleep, so on Sunday morning I called the consulting nurse, who recommended urgent care. Julie, my wife, took me in, early in the morning. This was not how I had hoped to start Holy Week. "Lord," I thought, "what more will you take away from me?" For over 20 years, the liturgies of Holy Week had been the focal point of the year for me. But this time, thanks to the virus, they were taken away. The liturgies, the celebrations, the family gatherings - all taken away. "And now, Lord," I thought, "will you take away the use and comfort of my body too?"

But then I thought, during Holy Week, we especially reflect on the suffering of Christ - his suffering for us. The best way to enter into Holy Week is to unite our suffering with his. Suffering has tremendous spiritual value. It is through suffering that we die to self and learn to love with a pure heart. We can also offer the spiritual value of our suffering up for others, as Christ offered up his suffering for us. Feeling completely miserable at the start of my Holy Week, I decided to offer up my suffering for healing in our families, for healing in the world. I added, "Lord, thank you for deeming me worthy to suffer for you."

Urgent care felt like a ghost town. I was told that there were other patients there, but I could see only medical staff. Julie had to stay in the waiting room, while I was escorted in. I was examined and X-rayed in a relatively short amount of time. As I waited for the doctor's diagnosis alone in an urgent care room, wearing a gown I could not tie in the back because of my bad arm, and an N95 mask that made breathing really hard, I continued to feel thoroughly miserable, but I kept offering up my suffering, and I focused on praying the Rosary.

When the doctor came, he ruled out major injuries, diagnosed the problem as an inflamed muscle, and prescribed some medications, as well as an at-home care routine. I was soon able to rejoin my wife in the waiting room. She was watching a livestream on her phone - the Palm Sunday Mass from St. Stephen the Martyr in Renton, the parish she attends. (I work at a different parish and I usually go to Mass there.)

We went over to the pharmacy, where, as we waited, I joined her in watching the Mass. The few others also waiting at the pharmacy, appropriately distanced from each other, didn't seem to mind that we had the volume on. I was able to see the Eucharistic Prayer. I prayed the Our Father with Julie. We exchanged the sign of peace through our obtrusive masks. We made Spiritual Communion together. In between these moments, I also picked up my medication. No one seemed to mind that even after picking up the prescription, we just stayed sitting there, watching the Mass.

Again, back on Ash Wednesday, this was not how I would have envisioned the start of my Holy Week. But the grace of God could still come to us through that small iPhone screen, and through the prayers the two of us made, gathered in our Lord's name in that pharmacy waiting room. Christ still found us. The Holy Spirit still entered our hearts. And as I made my Spiritual Communion, while holding in my hands a small bag containing medicine for my body, I knew I was receiving much more important medicine - medicine for the soul.

Photo Credit: Top photo: At the urgent care with Julie. Bottom photo: Our Palm Sunday display in quarantine. By Zoltan Abraham (c) 2020.