Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not Made By Hands

It's been a very difficult week for my family.  Long story short, JSB is involuntarily in the State Mental Hospital awaiting a hearing for a longer-term involuntary commitment.  He is so very ill and I am feeling pretty helpless right now.

So, your continued prayers for him and for the rest of us are most greatly appreciated.

In the midst of all of this upheaval, suffering, and anguish, God has made His presence known again and again.  So, I'm going to acknowledge my pain and frustration, and still count my blessings.

Blessing Number One - Wednesday was a horrible day which involved a commitment hearing dismissed on a technicality, me running to the magistrate to issue another emergency custody order, finding JSB, police cuffing him and returning him to the hospital in the span of an hour.  

My church has eucharist at noon On Wednesdays.  I went immediately after the ordeal and was joined there by some of my most beloved friends.  Lovely Vicar greeted me with a warm hug and was the chalice bearer, Arty Friend and Guy Friend joined me at the prayer rail to receive a healing prayer for JSB.  New Friend joined me there as well.  Powerful stuff prescribed for me by God.

Blessing Number Two - Met with a new Spiritual Director (the last one wasn't a good match for me) and had a fabulous meeting.  She is a Priest at a Church On A Hill.  She gave me wonderful suggestions for my prayer life concerning healing and my faith in God in light of it.  (hope that makes sense)  At any rate, it is a lot of spiritual meat for me to consider in relationship to God and my life and my call and my motherhood.  Again, more powerful stuff prescribed for me by God.

Blessing Number Three - Lovely Vicar invited me to join her Icon Writing Class.  It's something I've wanted to do for years.  I'll blog more on that process as I get more in to it.  But, it is a spiritual discipline - you're not painting pictures of Christian figures, you're praying the icon into existence.  It's a contemplative process jam-packed with mystery and theology and I LOVE it.  

I observed the class on Saturday and was thumbing through books of icons looking for a nice first icon for me.  I thought I'd probably start with the Virgin Mary because she is a central figure to my faith.  But, an icon of Christ grabbed me and demanded my attention.  This is it:

Irena, the master iconographer and teacher, explained to me that this is one of the first known Christian icons. It's called Not Made By Hands.  According to the legend, during Christ's earthly ministry, Abgar, ruler of Edessa in Syria, had leprosy all over his body.  He had heard of Christ's miracles, and wrote to him asking him to come and heal him.  He sent his court painter with the letter.  Christ wiped his face on a towel, leaving on it an image of his face.  This was returned to Abgar along with a letter from Jesus commending Abgar for his faith.  Abgar wiped his own face with it, and he was healed of his leprosy.

A lot of healing vibes around me all week.  Coincidence?  No way.  Another act of grace prescribed for me by God.

So, into the next week I go.  Another hearing for JSB's commitment on Tuesday, back to work, and to Icon Class on Saturday.  I pray to step more deeply into my faith, to listen, to be healed, and to witness the healing of my son.

To my faithful friends: I love you guys.  So very much.



  1. "...prescribed for me by God..."
    Prescription after prescription - seems like the Great Healer is crafting a unique treatment plan for you. His prescriptions are filled by the faithful who step into that role willingly and joyfully as his healing hands, feet, words, sighs. Blessed be.

  2. Thanks Carrie. You are so right. Blessed be. Thanks for being such a peaceful, prayerful presence in my life.

  3. ..and your presence in our class is a blessing to us as well. You saw what a mixed bag of souls it is - it feeds me everytime I'm there, even when I think my icon isn't going very well!Much love and prayers - I am so glad JSB is in a safe place right now and continue to pray that he will stay put for a while. Remember: peace before me, peace beside, peace under my feet.


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