…my power is made perfect in weakness. …for when I am weak, then I am strong. ~II Corinthians 12:9-10
With our culture’s emphasis on self-reliance and succeeding through our own efforts, we in American have a hard time understanding Paul’s message to the church at Corinth written during a time when he was experiencing hardship and persecution. Despite our best intentions, we in the West find it difficult to get beyond the habits of “me” in our thinking and reflexes … something we see as strength. I think it is necessary for us to focus on “we” instead of “me” in order to become “a heart-based, transformative global human culture” … something that excites my imagination and toward which I feel called to work. I had two major opportunities to experience heart-based “we-space” this week.
~ ~ ~
Late Monday morning, I sat down at my computer to write a blog post and was hit with excruciating pain. I gave up writing and tried to get the pain to go away. When it was apparent that it would not and I needed to go to the ER, I attempted to handle some pressing online financial matters before I left. It was absurd to think I could do anything on-line in that condition. My self-reliance was in full bloom. I’m a strong woman. I can handle this.
However, I began to feel faint and nauseous. I needed help getting to ER. If I could have driven myself, I would have. But my pain wouldn’t let me. I called my friend, Diana. She was in the middle of cleaning her kitchen. She dropped everything, lives five minutes away, rushed to my home, and gunned the accelerator to the hospital. She stayed by my side and advocated for me during my 4 ½ hours in ER. I especially appreciated it when she went to the nurse’s station to tell them the morphine was not taking my severe pain away and they needed to do something.
Her husband finished the kitchen including mopping the floor. Bless his heart.
By five in the afternoon, my pain relieved, I had a diagnosis of kidney stones, prescriptions for pain and nausea, and orders to call the urologists office first thing in the morning. One stone is too large to pass. I couldn’t get an appointment (that’s another story for another post) until Friday. I feel like a ticking time-bomb. The pain could return at any moment, necessitating another trip to the ER. Diana keeps her phone close at hand in case I need her.
~ ~ ~
Last night as the time approached to leave for my birthday dinner date with Nicole and Jacqui, my telephone rang. It was my friend, Cindi. Her husband has multiple health issues and also went to ER on Monday with a mild heart attack. She called because they had just taken him to surgery for a heart stent, their children were out of town, and she felt very alone. I could hear the panic in her voice, but she didn’t want me to change my plans. “No, I can handle this.”
She probably could, but I didn’t think she should have to. She should not be left alone.
So I cancelled my dinner plans, called Diana, also a friend of Cindi’s, and we hot footed it to West Chester (about 30 minutes away). We arrived about the time her husband was wheeled into ICU with a big smile on his face. After talking with the doctor, being assured he was doing okay, and meeting his very attentive nurse, the three of us went to dinner.
~ ~ ~
At dinner, we had a conversation about how we had demonstrated just what I had been reading in Terry Patten’s guide to inner work for holistic change, A New Republic of the Heart. We didn’t just do something nice for a friend. We consciously “shifted our self-focused identity, our defensive patterns and protective layers” of seeing ourselves as strong woman able to handle anything by ourselves. We chose to be weak in the eyes of the world … heart-centered women, “deeply authentic and open about our fears and our pain,” physical and emotional … a comforting presence for each other. It is the kind of intimacy that touches my heart … that we three believe we need to heal and emerge into a heart-centered world.
God chose things the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise. And God chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. ~1 Corinthians 1:27
~ ~ ~
Happy “Inter”dependence Day
To my way of thinking and being, that’s something to celebrate!!