The Unprotected Life.

I’ve had a week of being scared. And of trying to convince people that I’m not scared. My son, Jasper, who was born with club feet and has had multiple surgeries, seems to be getting worse. In that he is in a lot of pain and has trouble walking. So we are taking him to see his specialist in Melbourne next week to see what’s going on. And when I googled his condition and deterioration and further treatments, I discovered that sometimes it ends in double amputation.

And then yesterday he had some strange, enormous pains, and fainted twice in ten minutes, so we ended up in the emergency department. And the doctor told me that they needed to x-ray his chest to make sure that it was nothing ‘sinister’, as they had no idea what was going on. So I, who does tend to catastrophise, admittedly, spent an hour thinking that he had some kind of bone cancer. He doesn’t, it’s probably some weird muscle spasm but they’re not really sure. He also just seems to be someone who faints. In fact, that’s why he is now deaf. He was knocked unconscious 3 years ago and sustained damage that has caused moderate, but permanent, deafness.

But I don’t feel like I can take these fears and worries to people because then I’ll have to deal with their feelings and concerns. Why is it that when we need to share with people, we end up having to look after them? Or is that just me? It’s easier not to tell people things when you know that they’re going to fall apart in front of you, and then you have to be coping for an extra person, as well as for yourself and your children… Being guarded means you don’t have to hold your own feelings up for examination by other people.

I haven’t been reading during the last week; watching The Office all night is just easier. But I picked up a novel this afternoon that I bought some time ago called Chasing Francis; A Pilgrim’s Tale, and started to skim. I’ll go back and concentrate and underline and take notes when my mind is more settled. But it talks about how we need to tell our stories, with all their ‘shadows and fog, so people can understand their own…trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life’.

It talks about living a life (Franciscanism specifically, but lets expand it, hey?) thats ‘dangerously open, revealing all that we genuinely are, and receiving all the pain and sorrow the world will give back in return’.

Aquinas described two kinds of souls- the magna animi and the pusilla animi. The first is open, allowing space for the world to enter and find Jesus. The latter is the defended heart. Guarded, suspicious and closed, viewing everything as a potential threat and an enemy waiting to attack.

Maybe sharing our brokenness and our fears with people is the only way that we can authentically connect. In our world of #soblessed status updates, have we have lost the real connection of exposing our souls to others for fear of judgement, or for fear of being known too much.

I’m almost 100% convinced that my catch phrase of ‘everything’s fine, thanks’, is not going to be altered by these musings, but it’s something to think about…


17 thoughts on “The Unprotected Life.

  1. Eva, I’m so sorry for the pain and fear you are feeling. Been where you are many times during the past 9 years with my daughter. I have perfected the ” I’m great thanks – but how are you” technique for deflecting the drama of caring “friends”. There seem to be so few grown ups out there who can say something sensible or nothing at all. Praying things will be better and you will all find peace in the storm.

  2. Although I’ve been coming at it through mostly Jewish and Buddhist texts, I do believe the path of openness is the only way to know ourselves and others, to find a path toward the peace that relationships grounded in faith in God can bring to our lives. I’m glad you mentioned the book you are reading, so that I can look for a copy. I am interested to read a Christian perspective.
    And I struggle to understand how status updates equate to meaningful connection to others, when it doesn’t allow us to really understand the how and why of their joys and sorrows.
    There is nothing in life more terrifying than having a child who is struggling, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. Your family will be in my prayers.

  3. Yes, even when practicing openness we must select when and with whom we share our selves, and even then, we must decide how much to share. However, in my mind, openness is not just about what we say to others, but also how we approach them, even in silence. For example, months ago one of your posts came across my WordPress Feed, and I could have dismissed your blog because you are a Christian from Australia and I am a Jew from the US. But I liked that you were writing about trying to make sense of God and how to relate to God in the chaos of modern life — because that is part of my Journey as well. So I opened myself to the idea that, despite our differences, I might learn something from you, and so I followed your blog… and now I have a new book to read!! 🙂

    • I think youre right, and we have to balance between being so open to new ideas that we flit around amd never settle on anything, but also being too closed so that we never get to take advantage of the wisdom that others have gained from experience.

  4. Oh.Jasper! and all of you…! 😦
    My prayer and tomorrow “adoring chat” also for litlle Jasper and you who are his dearest.
    I am a powerless man but I know He left to the men the little/big power to be heard from Him and from his Mother too.
    Sure I’ll try to reach for Mary’s cloak for She keep young Jasper and you inside it.
    About openness, I’ll follow your reasonings because I could get insight as I am very shut and hardly able to share brotherhood in such way.
    God bless you.

  5. First of all, sending you a great big HUG and healthy wishes for your boy! ❤
    I definitely agree that to find authentic connection we need to bare our souls every once in awhile.

Comments are closed.