Over the past few days, the pain in my abdomen started getting sharper and more frequent.
Another friend passed away this weekend from cancer, triggering my concern about whether this pain was just another blip in the road or a milestone. At best, it was distracting. At worst, worrisome.
I tried to pay close attention to the pain and realized that whenever I was upset, anxious or thinking some judgmental thought, the pain got worse. I gave up judgment for Lent and thought I was doing pretty well, so those moments of awareness were particularly stabbing.
At Whole Foods this morning, still in pain, I got that shaky “off” feeling that I get sometimes, where things don’t feel like they are clicking and I feel like I need to get out of whatever physical space I am in.
I hurriedly collected and paid for my groceries, and I bagged them. I actually love bagging groceries and am pretty good at it, but not today. I wasn’t efficient and I wasn’t careful about putting my bags in the cart, leaving one precariously balanced on top.
The woman behind the register asked, “Can we help you get to the car?”
I thought, you don’t have someone to help bag. Who is going to get me to the car?
I said, “No, thank you. I think I got it.”
Two steps later, the bag toppled onto the floor and one gallon of orange juice broke, causing a mini-flood. I stood and watched, not knowing how to stop it. It was right where the entrance and exit meet, so anyone coming into or out of the store was blocked.
The clean-up crew arrived. I apologized and rushed to get a replacement gallon. When I returned to my cart, all three workers who were cleaning the mess said to me, “It is all okay. We don’t mind doing this. We are more worried about you.”
I really needed to get out of there.
And so my day went.
A few hours later, driving to teach my religious education class of first graders, I started to panic. I promised them a pizza party today and often, with this age group, a change in routine has the potential for things to spiral out of control. Why was I even doing this? Who even cared? Was it worth the effort?
Jab. Jab. Jab.
How was I going to get through the class with this pain?
And then this song started playing:
Try not to get worried
Try not to turn onto
Problems that upset you
Oh don’t you know
Everything’s alright yes
It has been so long since I heard that song, I couldn’t even remember that it was from Jesus Christ Superstar. It was just what I needed to hear. And of course, I just love events that occur against all odds.
I got through the class. The kids were AMAZING. The person helping me said that it was the best behavior she has seen from them all year. And if the pain was there, I didn’t notice it at all during the entire hour.
Everything’s alright yes