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Losing My Religion

February 3, 2014

I guess that by now, you’ve recognized the fact that I use a lot of song titles as post headings. That’s because a) I’m not clever enough to come up with an original title for every single entry, and b) because I adore music and this is a small way I can pay tribute to its creators. So there.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about losing my religion, but about the confusion that results when I try to figure out all the big-picture stuff. It can’t really be helped; I’ve been bombarded with stimuli for weeks now, not just from my new job but also some potentially ominous goings-on in Will’s health status. Though his primary tumors have actually shrunk, the most recent CT scan found lesions on his spine and ribs (called “bony metastases”) that could be bad news, and they did two MRIs plus X-rays last week; we’ll find out this Thursday what it all means.

In the meantime, while dealing with the flashbacks to the dark days following his diagnosis last summer, I’ve been having some really intense conversations with God again. I’m still doing fine mental health-wise, but as a medical professional I am not happy with this development, even if the “lesions” were on the original CT. Nobody told us about it then, and now we’re both perturbed and more than a little anxious.

Anyway, as we were sitting in church this morning waiting for Mass to begin, I was thumbing through the hymnal for the day’s liturgical music and was delighted to see that several of my favorite songs were included. I have quite a few, but these were hymns that comfort me a great deal when I’m feeling unsettled—and I marveled at the coincidence.

And then I wondered…..was it mere coincidence? Or could it be something more?

Religion, some say, has been the refuge of both visionaries and lunatics throughout the ages….maybe because there’s a very fine line between prescience and psychosis. Think about it: how many times have you heard a street person declare that he is God, or a TV “evangelist” claim he has a special connection with the Almighty? But even more importantly…..how do we know that they’re wrong?

I have to reserve judgment on those questions because I myself have had too many “coincidences” like this to believe they are ONLY coincidences. There have been too many instances in which I was in the right place at the right time—to help, to be helped. Like the times I’ve said the right words to someone who needed to hear them……and I had no idea that I even knew the right words until they were out of my mouth. Like the times I’ve had an odd sense that a perfectly decent-looking patient was about to take a dive, and acted before disaster struck.

And like today, when four seemingly randomly chosen songs were just the ones I needed to remind me that the Lord sees what’s going on in my life, and cares enough to reach out to me through sacred music.

I suppose in some circles I would be thought mad, and of course, we all know I have my moments. I even have occasional delusions, mostly about government spying and people trying to spoil my fun when I’m manic. But experiencing religious delusions right smack in the middle of the longest period of sanity I’ve had in some time? I don’t think so…..in fact, I haven’t been this grounded in reality in my entire life.

And yes, hearing those songs did comfort and reassure me. They spoke to me of trusting God to take care of me, no matter what happens……even if the news on Thursday isn’t good. But sometimes, I wish He didn’t trust ME so much.

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