Friday, December 13, 2013

Glory to God in His Saints!

I woke up very early this morning in pain. I thought I had slept funny and carefully turned over, trying not to disturb the baby. It didn't get better. My right side hurt, especially around my ribs. It got worse. I got up to the bathroom and went back to bed. It was hurting now to the point that I couldn't be still. I started wondering what I had done yesterday - lifted anything heavy? I couldn't decide whether it was muscular or visceral pain and I lay very still in an effort to figure it out. That's when I noticed that the pain was wrapping around my right upper abdomen and shooting up to my right shoulder. Oh, blast. Gall bladder. I quietly got up and checked on the internet. Yep, that's what it was. I had had an attack about two and a half years ago and it resolved on its own, but not before I spent most of the day in bed, in pain, and with an upset stomach.

Need I mention that this was incredibly bad timing? My parents arrived from out of state yesterday evening, here for the baptism tomorrow. The godparents are arriving this evening. Not. Good. At. All. :(

I went back to bed, the pain increasing all the while. I woke up Father and asked him to find the oil from St. John Maximovitch to anoint me with. He did, and while he was doing it I had the thought that it wasn't going to work. Blowing that off as a temptation, I asked St. John's intercessions and said the Jesus Prayer to myself while curling up in tears. Father wanted to know if he needed to take me to the ER. I pictured the scenario: me in the ER being evaluated, the need for surgery, trying to figure out the logistics with a nursing baby, people from out of town, baptism scheduled for tomorrow... Lord have mercy. I said no, that it had resolved on its own previously and hopefully would do so again.

The pain was bad. I tried not to worry but couldn't help it, nor could I help crying. The kids were up and getting dressed. I knew my parents would be coming over soon. We had tried to call them but they didn't have cell phone reception. I thought about the very real possibility that I would be out of commission all weekend. I decided I wanted the baptism to go on as scheduled, no matter what, and said that to Father. After all, in Greece, traditionally the godparents pick the baby up and take it to the church for the baptism and the parents aren't even there. I'd be horribly disappointed to miss it, but I didn't want to put it off.

Today is the feast of St. Herman of Alaska. I thought about that fact and asked St. Herman for his prayers. When Father came back in the room a few minutes later I suddenly remembered something: Father's godfather had given us a small vial with earth from St. Herman's grave many years ago. We had asked how you used it and he told us that you mixed it with water and drank it. I remember thinking that I'd have to be pretty hard up to bring myself to drink water with dirt in it. Well, this morning I didn't hesitate. I asked Father to bring me a cup of water with a pinch of the dirt in it. He did and I drank it. Afterward I curled up and prayed.

Even though the pain didn't disappear immediately, I had some peace. The possibility of needing to go to the ER seemed remote. My parents arrived and they stayed in the living room, talking to the children and holding the baby. I could hear them from my bed. I noticed the pain was a little better, that it wasn't bringing me to tears. I closed my eyes and tried not to worry about what would happen.

A little time passed, perhaps another half hour. I had dozed a bit and realized that the pain had lessened considerably. Father came in to check on me and to tell me that everyone had gone out shopping. I told him I was feeling better. Within another ten minutes I found that the pain had gone entirely. I prodded my right upper abdomen, reaching under my ribs. The spot that had been incredibly tender to touch only an hour ago was fine. I nursed the baby. Not long after that I got up and got dressed. Right now you never would have known how much pain I was in earlier.

Glory to God! Thanks to St. Herman who interceded for me!

life of St. Herman of Alaska

Troparion (Tone 7)

O joyful north star of the Church of Christ, 
Guiding all men to the Heavenly Kingdom; 
Teacher and apostle of the true faith; 
Intercessor and defender of the oppressed. 
Adornment of the Orthodox Church in America, 
Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ 
For the salvation of our souls!

9 comments:

  1. Glory to God! So glad you are feeling better! I'll be praying for everything to go well tomorrow! I was anointed with oil from St Johm Maximovitch the month we found out we were pregnant with Gabriel..I'll always be grateful for his intercession! We attended Liturgy for St Spiridon yesterday...Father anointed us with oil from St Herman and some holy water...I could smell the fragrance all day...what a blessed day! We are blessed to have these connections to the Saints!

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  2. Praise be to God. Matushka, I wish I had your faith.

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  3. So grateful!! I've been discussing a family situation with St. Herman myself. Looking forward to seeing the pictures from the baptism.

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  4. Thank God! I am so happy that you are feeling better!

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  5. "After all, in Greece, traditionally the godparents pick the baby up and take it to the church for the baptism and the parents aren't even there".

    That is not true. All the members of the family are THERE.

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  6. Anonymous, I wasn't clear. I should have said that *formerly* the godparents took the baby to church. I doubt that is done much any more.

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  7. That's true, in greek villages the mother didn't attend the baptism of her child, and she would have to trust that the baby would get the name the parents had agreed on. For example, my mother was supposed to get the name of her mother's mother, but in church my grandpa announced that she would be named after his sister (traditionally, the first child is named after the grandparent from the father's side, the second from the grandparent from the mother's side and so on). Of course that was not an orthodox tradition, it was just ignorance (and disrespect towards women?). Hmm, how come you knew about that custom?

    I hope everything goes great tomorrow matushka, with no more temptations!

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  8. The correction of the second "Anonymous" is correct. Only the mother stayed at home (for some places, not everywhere) and yes, you are right, that is not done anymore. Hopefully, because no one should be excluded from such an important Mystery of church.
    Wish you everything goes well on your little's baptism. (And quick recovery to you!!!)

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