Watching the sun rise I felt you there, as the tight faint words that left my pained lips whispered your name. Minute by minute as the sky began to change I felt the light of your presence tiptoe into the darkness of my pain. How can saying a phrase over and over again bring such focus when my mind is occupied by the heat of firework-like pain.
Over and over again, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Each pronunciation of each word causing more pain but still cuts through the sea of flames parting them for a moment of stillness, a strange sweetness in the bitter endurance.
Soon I realise an hour has passed, and although the pain hasn’t gone I feel my lips are stronger and more confident. Although my body doesn’t agree, with shaking legs I make my way downstairs in the new born light of the day. The kitchen isn’t dark enough to warrant a light yet not light enough to see clearly. The click of the kettle is loud – click, bubble, rumble, click – and the sound of my hot water battle filling up, a warm relief to hold.
I tip toe into my study, thin morning light casts shadows from the crucifix on my table. I draw my eyes up and see the growing light flowing over my statue of Mary. She stands there with arms open and I cast all my fear of the pain into them. The garden illumines more and more, I pace the carpet, and find myself swaying like I used to when settling my children when they were babies. Here I am trying to settle myself but being rocked in the rhythm of prayer, being fed by His sweetness, and comforted by the strength of Mary.
At some point it all became quiet.
And in that stillness a voice – “Talitha cum”
Sweetness in the bitterness of pain.