April 2018

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mary wept.

Ever since I saw that episode of "The Waltons" where kids had to memorize a Bible verse, and one slacker memorized John 11:35, "Jesus wept," I have loved this verse. Partly, probably, because it's one of the only Bible verses I can remember in its entirety.

I read in a commentary that in its original languages, this verse would not have been the shortest in the Bible. I also read that the Greek word for "wept" means to shed silent tears instead of earlier weeping, where the Greek work used means something closer to wailing (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary cited at

I can identify with the quietness of Jesus's tear. That's how I cry, too. Last Thursday, I cried. I was working with a talented teacher, Todd, and a challenging high school freshman class that I am getting to know, a group that I am quite fond of. Todd and I had planned together, and I was to start the day's lesson, modelling how to begin a lesson crisply. I know from watching these students on other days and from teaching them and similar groups of freshmen that directions need to be clear and crisp.

With my current disabilities, however, clear and crisp is hard. I have to concentrate in order to stand, and concentrate to look from the left to the right or, especially, to look from a page of writing up to a group of students. On this day, I just couldn't do it. I couldn't move crisply enough to keep them engaged. Once again, I couldn't do what I used to do.

Teacher Todd regained the responsibility of working with the group as a whole, and I worked with smaller groups. After the class, as always, Todd and I discussed what we had learned about the students, what we wondered, and what his next steps with these students might be. After that discussion, I confessed to him how hard it had been to re-experience what I cannot now do. It was in this moment of quiet reflection and confession that I wept.

A few weeks ago, at a naturopathic appointment about my tremors, the doctor asked me if I was experiencing chronic grief. According to my naturopath's tome, chronic grief can cause tremors. I wept then, too.

To understand my emotions a little better, I did a little bit (not a lot) of research on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler's Five Stages of Grief. Stage One: Denial. Stage Two: Anger. Stage Three: Bargaining. Stage Four: Depression. Stage Five: Acceptance.

I'm definitely not in denial, but I wonder if I'm experiencing all of the other stages of grief at once, or at least in rapid succession.  For me, it seems, the process of grieving this loss is more like a washing machine than a conveyer-belt, more turbulent than tidy.

Mostly, I know that I am lucky to be alive and lucky to get to live this life. Sometimes, however, I am just mad, bargaining and unhappy about my disabilities. Having the tumors and their treatments was one thing, but the fun of all that is over now, and I'm ready to return to my days of teaching and running and looking straight ahead with two eyes.


1 comment:

  1. And this made me weep a silent tear. I still get angry about your tumors, too, and I still want to bargain (if we all help, can't Mary come on the hike/raft/whatever trip with us?). Maybe we'll never get to acceptance but at least you are still here and we have lots of moments of fun and laughter to balance things out along the way.


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