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  • Sarah Raad

Alone

For though we know that Christ suffered on the Cross ALONE, it does not follow that the other Two Persons of the Holy Trinity did not suffer to see Their Beloved suffer.

The Holy Trinity (Artus Wolffort)

Many years ago my husband slipped on some rainwater on the floor tiles under a window in our home during a thunderstorm and landed with an almighty thump directly onto his tailbone. Thankfully, he did not break his back! Unfortunately, the fall aggravated some pre-existing damage in his back and exacerbated a couple of his already herniated discs and the poor man has had chronic backpain ever since.


As he refused surgery and long-term medication for various reasons, the only relief that my husband found for the serious, chronic and constant pain in his back and legs, was from physiotherapy. And so, some years ago he began a rigorous regime of physiotherapy stretches and massage to rebuild strength and movement in his back and legs. Thank God, he has found some relief with this approach.


One of the first things that the physiotherapist recommended for my husband when he commenced treatment was to change his shoes and she advised him to wear a particular brand of sandshoes wherever possible.


Now, my husband is not a shopper. In fact, even asking my husband to walk into a shopping centre, causes him to become extremely claustrophobic. And yet, because he has found such relief through physiotherapy, he went out all on his own one day into the shopping centre and bought himself a brand new pair of sandshoes as per the instructions of the physiotherapist.


Now, my husband found that these sandshoes gave him a lot of relief with his back and so he wears them all the time that he can when he is not at work.


When he brought them home to show me – being mindful of his chronic and severe pain – I kept my opinion about them to myself. After all he is wearing the shoes and he loves them and that is all that matters. But the shoes are really bright. I mean really really BRIGHT. They are neon fluorescent yellow and definitely do not blend in with the crowd. But they are comfortable and kind of cool, once you get used to them, and though I would have advised him to choose a different colour if I had been with him when he bought them, I have become used to seeing those bright yellow shoes of a weekend.


Over the last few weeks, I have been required to complete quite a few medical tests and meet with quite a few doctors. Because of the various social distancing and lockdown restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not allowed to take anyone with me to these appointments. Many of these appointments, I attended alone, but for some, I was very lucky and my husband drove me there because he loves me and did not want me to feel isolated, especially when they were far away.

When we arrived for the appointment, I would go in for every long appointments (more than an hour at a time) and my husband would wait outside the door of the doctor’s office, standing out there on the street for the entire length of the consultation.

Each time he was with me, I would look out at the doorway before I went in for the test or to speak with the doctor, and there I would see, at the bottom, in the glass, those bright yellow fluorescent shoes. And then – afterwards – when I was reeling from the information that I had received or the experience that I had just been through, I would see those bright yellow shoes standing patiently outside the glass office door.


I have been reflecting on those bright yellow shoes in the days and weeks that have followed these sorts of appointments, for I have come to believe that it is may possibly be easier to experience suffering than to witness a loved one suffering instead.


All my life, I have reflected on the horrific suffering of Christ on the Cross – until now. Now, though I see the terrible suffering of Our Lord and I mourn for it, I see also His Beloved Father and the Holy Spirit.


Now I see the other Persons of the Holy Trinity. For though we know that Christ suffered on the Cross ALONE – the other Persons of the Holy Trinity were NOT on the Cross with Him – it does not follow that They too did not suffer to see Their Beloved suffer.


For They LOVE Christ perfectly and though They were not on that Cross with Him, how much They suffered to see His pain!


I see Their suffering when I see my husband’s bright yellow shoes outside the doctors’ glass doors. For though I attend those appointments alone, he suffers through them for love of me…


And knowing that he is standing outside that door, I can see what it means to love your neighbour as yourself. Because love is standing beside our loved ones when they hurt. Even if that is all that it is possible for us to do.


And so, I pray that God will bless my husband always. For he reminds me of God’s love for me. And that is something that I never want to forget.


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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