A Difficult Question

“Who do you say that I am?”  Jesus asked. 

The honor student in me is screaming, “NO FAIR – TRICK QUESTION!” but the rest of me is saying, “I need some time to answer that one.  Let me get back to you.” 

That was almost ten days ago.  I’ve been stalling, trying not to think about it ever since I heard this reading at Mass.  I know I don’t have a good answer, or perhaps more accurately, it’s not the answer I think it should be.  Not the answer I think Jesus is looking for from me.  How very arrogant of me to try to read into his asking of that question.  My other reason for stalling – I see an inherent dilemma in answering.  If I define who Jesus is to me, it leads me to question, “Who am I to Jesus?” and that is both a humbling and frightening question to ask.  It also leads me to question my as-yet-barely -formed answer, asking, “Is this who I say that Jesus IS or who I say that I WANT him to be?”

My thus far feeble attempts:  Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  Jesus is the salvation of the world.  Am I wrong?  No.  Am I right?  Yes – but…

Jesus is looking for more than Sunday School lip service on this one.  He isn’t offering me a sermon opportunity. This is a personal question – one friend to another.  Wait a minute. I think I just found my answer.  My friend.  The one who listens patiently to my daily dramas and tirades when even my therapist is throwing up his hands in exasperation.  The Jesus I know isn’t the one who looks half-sick in most paintings.  The Jesus I know has a big friendly smile on his face and his arms open waiting to give me a big bear hug.  No, that’s not quite right either.  That’s the Jesus I want to know.  The smiling listener, I know.  The hugger?  That’s the Jesus I want to know but there’s still some part of me that’s holding back.  I don’t know why and that saddens and frustrates me.  Thankfully, I know Jesus is more patient than I am.  He’s willing to wait while I work up to bear hugs.

That still leads me back to my other question.  “Who am I to Jesus?”  I am his Beloved.  His Darling.  His Princess.  He loves me even though I can’t fully accept it yet, just the way I am right now.  Right now being defined as sitting in front of my laptop with tears of frustration streaming down my face because I know he loves me and I know I’m holding myself back for reasons I have yet to understand.

So now I pass the question on to you my dear reader: 

Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” 

What will you answer?

Further Lessons…

Hello All,
An eye update — all good news although the mystery remains…
I survived my MRI Wednesday night (I thought 9:30 was bad but some poor girl was there when I left at 10:40!). They sent me home with a CD copy of the scans, which of course I sat up well past midnight comparing the other three CDs I have in my growing little collection. My doctor called me late Thursday evening to say that there are no signs of MS or anything really bizarre.  Diagnosis remains Optic Neuritis, cause as yet unknown.  He said the muscles are not quite as inflammed as last time, which is good news.  Shorter healing time means less chance of any further permanent damage.
I had another VFT (visual field test) done this morning.  The eyes are both up around 80% (they were at only 60% last week) – THANK YOU GOD!!  I have to have another one done next week as I step down the steroids again but definitely moving in the right direction.  Also the color vision is back to almost normal.  Red is such a lovely color – especially if you haven’t seen it in a week or three.
So for now the plan is to finish out the remaining days of steroids, possibly taking on another 5-10 days at a very low dose depending on next week’s VFT.  I’m surviving this round of Prednisone much better than last time, although it still messes with sleeping.  At least the Ambien nights make for some great journal entries – they make sense for the first page…. then… well… stream of consciousness – YIKES!
My doctor has given me STRICT orders – change the Bob Dylan music on my phone because Bob Dylan writes good songs, he just can’t sing worth a damn – which led to a forty minute comparison of Ipods and favorite folk singers.  Oh yeah and ANY visual disturbances going forward, I have to go for VFTs (no more blankie-over-the-head stuff).  Until now, I’ve avoided that because I’ve labled such vision problems as migraines, eye strain, stress, exhaustion… pretty much anything that doesn’t involve docs & meds…(yes-  Queen of Denial isn’t just my favorite latte)

On a MUCH happier note vacation starts for me soon. I’m taking a week off by myself holing up in a hotel somewhere with my laptop, the opening chapters of my newest writing project, some good music, a lot of coffee and some seriously dark chocolate.   The answers to this eye thing will come eventually and much as it scares the hell out of me when it happens, for now this episode is passing and there’s not much else that can be done about it.  The mystery surrounding this remains and I suppose in addition to surrender, I must learn patience.  My friends and family have been a huge source of support for me, although reaching out is not always easy for me.  Perhaps a lesson in humility as well?
What I do know for certain is that God has given me much to be thankful for and much to ponder.

Learning Surrender

My eyes have become an issue again.  Well, they’ve been an issue on and off for the past two years but not quite this serious.  Up to now, the answer from the doctor is always the same.  We can treat it with steroids or we can let it run a bit to see if will clear up.  This time, it didn’t clear up. 

I’ve been to the eye doctor two Fridays in a row, only to watch the vision slip from 75% at the first visual field to only 60% on the second one. This time the loss is nearly even in both eyes.  I’ve been back on the steroids since Saturday.  Mercifully, my primary doctor put me on a much lower dose than the eye specialist used when I went through this in 2007.  I have an MRI scheduled for tonight at 9:30 PM.  The weatherman is calling for thunderstorms.  How very Mary Shelley – a brain scan at night in a thunderstorm.  IGOR!!

So what is this?  Optic neuritis.  What’s causing it?  We don’t know yet, thus the MRI.  The most likely culprits are MS, Lupus, or one of a long list inflammatory diseases.  After nearly three years of headaches, vision problems, weird balance issues, even restless leg syndrome, all of which come and go with no apparent pattern, I don’t even know what to pray for anymore. 

Do I pray the MRI comes out clean and I spend another three years with the doctors trying to puzzle out the causes? 

Do I pray that something shows up so the doctors know what we’re dealing with and how to proceed with some kind of treatment?

I ran out of words last Friday when I saw the latest visual fields.  I drove from the eye doctor’s to the beach and sat there too numb to even cry. 

Resignation?  Realization?  Surrender?  Trust? 

Okay Lord.  I can’t deal with this one.  It’s all in Your hands and whatever it is, I will accept it – with more than a little help if that’s not too much to ask of You.