I have been having quite a difficult month so far, yet it has been far more rewarding that I could have hoped. In many ways, the path to my baptism has been wrought with parallels aplenty with the symbolic meaning of lent and Easter. This has actually been my first Easter and I am proud to say that I have officially been baptized, confirmed and received first communion two days ago on the Easter saturday vigil. I find it hard to write using a Christian, let alone Catholic vernacular without cringing from the mass stigma bred into me by our modern society so I will have a slow progression from my neo-pagan terminology to a that of the Catholic tradition.
It is interesting to me how this how process has played out, because in truth, I’m a skeptic with a fixation on the scientific method, yet my spiritual experiences are plenty. This last month I have had a very bad fibromyalgia neuropathic pain flare (last about 6 hours), the crux of my medication for migraines failing (a migraine that lasted 9 days and needed hospital treatment a week ago today) and, all things in threes, I had to endure a very bad celiac reaction friday night (worse than I’ve had in over a year). This is all, of course, smack dab in the middle of my final exams at university.
Through all of these, my partner as stood strong and caring, more so than I could ever have even prayed for. He has been a constant source of comfort and peace, and although the relationship is relatively new, it is one that echos through the ages, familiar and strong. My RCIA program with church culminated (in terms of the official initiation rights) on Saturday. Thursday I was one of the 12 chosen to have my feet washed by the bishop, before which I had tripped and sprained my ankle. Friday I was in enough pain that I couldn’t attend the walk from one parish to another for the morning ritual, or the afternoon mass at three. Friday evening there was a mishap, and I spent from 9pm to 1-2 am in the bathroom shaking and sobbing in pain. Heartburn, vomiting, nauseated, bloating so fast I could feel the water stretching the cells in my abdomen, my intestines being stabbed at in waves as my own body attacked itself. My joints inflamed, every joint in my body, from my toes to my spine and my jaw, hurting in that dull ache from the inside of the joint itself. I lost coherence and my partner stayed by my side as the pain overwhelmed me. When the sickness had passed to give way to more pain I was able to curl up beside my partner and watch some funny clips with him and his housemates, and he made me laugh in spite of the experience. By 5am I was exhausted enough by my own body attacking itself that I passed out asleep, and missed to retreat to prepare the RCIA candidates for the nights vigil. Thankfully, I’ve started a new medication that has been successfully controlling my migraines and neuropathic pain, so for once, it was just a celiac reaction- no burning in my skin and soft tissue, electric shocks all over my body, aches and stabbing pains.
Saturday morning I was sad. Not because I was in pain, felt sad for myself or wished it all away. This was a lamentation. Lamentation for having missed the retreat, something very important to me, and sorrow at the thought of missing the vigil. I stood firm with myself and decided I would attend the vigil, so I dolled myself up to compensate for how horrid I felt inside and we went. The ceremony was beautiful, and something happened that many may doubt, as I received each blessed sacrement, my pain receded. Like the ebb of a low tide, I hurt less and less, and what is best in this: my reactions from celiac disease in my intestines last over 24 hours no matter what, and my joint pain usually lasts 2 weeks. By the end of the ritual, it was all gone. Completely. And two days later, it hasn’t returned.
I’m in withdrawal from my old migraine prevention meds, and my new meds control my pain so well, but my celiac reaction stopped completely and I have been feeling wonderful since. I know for a fact what happened when I was healed, there is not a doubt in my mind, and whether you believe me or not- it doesn’t change the truth of the event. The Holy Spirt, or in my neo-pagan vernacular: magic, healed me.
I plan to write about my opinions on God, Catholocism and many other topics in time, but I think people may find some glimmer of hope in the fact that on April 18th, 2014, the true Easter Saturday, I was healed. I’ve had experiences with spirits and angels my whole life, but never before had one effect me in such a profound physical manifestation, and I know very well that from here on in I am on the right track. I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.