Time has come for me to be "on the ramp", the ramp to surgery. Friends say I will soon be the bionic woman; this week going for a third replacement joint. No, I am not collecting them on purpose. Wish I could pass this one up. I would do so with the snap of my fingers if it was in my power. However, osteoarthritis gives me no choice. So a hip replacement it will be on the 20th.
The blog has been quiet because the last two weeks have been filled with the usual pre-surgical stuff. But I have been thinking of all those warnings about possible infection, blood clots - the dire stuff they want you to know and sign off on. It is sobering. And when all is said and done it is you going down the hall alone on a gurney with a nurse or an anesthesiologist you just met and having no choice but to trust them with your life.
But the truth is I will not be alone.
In these two weeks following the great Feast of Easter we have heard the dramatic accounts of repeated appearances of Jesus to his disciples and apostles: to Mary of Magdela in the garden, to puzzled followers trodding the road to Emmaus, to the apostles in the upper rooom and to his friends, those tired fisherman hauling empty nets to shore in the wee hours of the morning. I have been struck by the human intimacy contained in each account. Jesus calls Mary by her very name in the beauty of a garden. He reveals himself in storytelling and in the act of sharing bread with new friends in a crowded inn. The risen Lord has sympathy for Thomas' 'show me' attitude and invites him to literally enter into the wounds still visible in his resurrected glory. And in those wee morning hours he directs tired fisherman to just the right spot for lowering their nets for a huge catch and greets them with warm breakfast on the beach. These are not whispers in the wind or burning bushes or hard to grasp dream images. Jesus is present. He is physical - talking, eating, allowing himself to be touched, pronouncing the name of his dear friend. And how often he says, "Do not be afraid." In this time of ours there is much of which we can say we are afraid: the economy, the wars, black clouds of volcanic ash over Europe, disease, joblessness, the welfare and fate of our children and grandchildren, the inevitability of aging. But Jesus comes, is beside us and bids us not to be afraid. "I am with you until the end of time." So I will think of Jesus beside me, with me, giving me the courage necessary. And I will ask him to have a hot meal ready for me when I wake.