Aug 8, 2009

And Protect us From All Anxiety...Even by using Facebook



This past week my wife, Marion received word of a small nodule that was found on a recent mammogram. It's tiny, less than a millimeter, but obviously it has shaken us up, especially since her mother died of breast cancer when Marion was in college. She had the needle biopsy on Friday and now we wait. Three to five business days of waiting.

Anxiety-filled waiting.

Friends and relatives have been praying and sending their best wishes for a clean bill of health for her. Even our dog has been nuzzling up to Marion more than me lately, which is unusual for him as he is very attached to me.

At mass today the words that are read after the Our Father ask God to "protect us from all anxiety" which I often find comforting, but today they took on new meaning...as we wait, we realize that anxiety is something that does indeed occur with life's many travails. The following line is the one that really is more important:

"As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ."

There's nothing like a medical scare to make you realize that indeed we all need God, that we are not God and therefore we are not in control. Try as we might to protect ourselves from anxiety, it often still finds us and those restless hearts will only rest easy once they rest in God.

Recently, I reported that a Bishop from Great Britain mentioned that Facebook was a considerable factor in the rise of teen suicide. He cautioned that all this technology keeps us alienated from one another. While the Bishop makes a good point about how technology can certainly alienate us greatly, it also connects us as well. With my wife's permission I asked my facebook friends to pray for her on my status update. Within a half hour something amazing happened over 30 people quickly jotted a simple word and maybe a few extra sentences as well. That simple word was "prayers" and it made me feel connected to people that I know well and to many that I haven't heard from in awhile. Friends from retreats and ministry circles, high school, college, family and even my old radio colleagues all weighed in with their own prayers. Some simply said "prayers" and that one word is more than enough to connect me and my wife to them in union with the whole church. Perhaps that's an experience that the Bishop hasn't had but it is one that is worth noting.

And it would not have happened without this technology.

As different as many of us might be religiously (even some of us who share a Catholic faith), nobody ever seems remotely offended when another asks for someone to pray for them or for someone they care about. Even those who might not believe in God don't find it an awful exercise to send a good wish or thought someone's way. We all like and need to pray for each other.

And quite often we don't. It often takes a tragedy for me to remember someone else in prayer or to even pray with someone else. A priest friend of mine always mentions names of people who have asked him to pray for them when we have a shared prayer of the faithful. That impressed me, so much so that I started keeping a log of people to pray for on my blackberry.

So God asks much of us when He asks us to be mindful of Him in prayer. We note how out of control we are and how we need God's help. But we also know that we need the help of others to show us God's care for us as well. It is in the others who become the face of God for us in our toughest moments...those moments of anxiety, that we often seek protection from ...it is in those others that indeed God helps us to find gratitude, when fear can easily take over.

I'm fairly confident that my wife will be fine. Whatever this is, it is tiny...less than a millimeter. So even in the worst case, this should be easy to defeat, especially for a strong woman like my wife. Others face things far worse and far more daunting than we are this week.

But perhaps it is in the others who have touched our hearts this week with their simple prayers where God is calling me to be most mindful.

And to become more like them as a person of prayer...who helps God protect us from all anxiety.

8 comments:

RAKSTAR said...

Mike,

I'm so often bewildered at how rarely we ask for prayer, when we need it all so badly. I hope that our sensibilities there are changing - maybe it just starts a few people at a time both asking for and offering prayers, but it is a powerful thing.

We continue to pray for Marion and you here - know that I'm just a phone call away in case the written word isn't enough!

Peace out, my friend!
Rakhi

Murphy Family Ministry said...

You put such truth so beautiful. I have this experience more than once on FB from almost losing our baby, to sudden job loss and family uncertainty to recently the most beautiful of responses by folks on our wedding anniversary. I think it's awesome AND it is a reminder to others who did not write anything.

Through my Lourdes Ministry, I have a very dear friend and Dominican Nun who I have gave your wife's name and their monastery is praying as well as a mass will be said at the Grotto itself.

God Bless YOU BOTH!
Andrea

Linda said...

Mike,
I so understand about the power of prayer from friends and even those we really don't know. We are all connected. When my grandmother died last year it was my friends in an online group that gave me strength to get through it all. God bless you and I pray too that your wife have negative results. Your topic got my attention because this week while praying the Our Father, out of my mouth burst and "forgive us our grumbling". :)

St Edwards Blog said...

Mike and Marion - first of all, so many prayers.

I love what you say here, so filled with refreshing honesty.

As you know, I am part of a large group of bloggers in another corner of my life. Most of them are not Catholic (Episcopalian) and many are not even remotely religious. Yet prayer request posts are frequent and responses are overwhelming.

And that is a good thing, thanks be to God.

I think I said this on the other post but honestly, so many things are not good and evil of themselves, but rather what we do with them. That is how I feel about the vilification of technology from faith leaders.

That said, when I was at Spring Enrichment, the opening session was led by Fr. Richard Fragomeni and he spoke of how technology can bring forth such divided attention and also the notion that the next best thing might be coming in that post or tweet. (my lame paraphrasing of his great words) THAT can be the evil of it all.

Nonetheless - prayers in great abundance for Marion and for you.

Peace.
Fran

Missy Francis said...

I keep a list of my students so I remember to pray for each of them by name. Interestingly, it helps me to learn and remember their names and makes me feel more connected to them.

The Bishop is thoughtful in his cautions, but the statistics on suicide don't really bear this out. Teen suicide is down considerably. In fact all of the negative things that we associate with teens doesn't seem to apply in a blanket way to millennials.

Actually, baby boomers have the most suicides. The statistics followed them from their teen years onward into each age bracket... At least this is the information I received last fall, so "OCICBW"

Missy Francis said...

BTW, prayers ascending for Marion.
:)

Juan said...

I will keep you both in my prayers




Juan

Juan said...

I will keep you both in my prayers

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