Buried and Raised

This life has the sense of being buried with Christ… We experience all the limitations of our mortality and have yet to experience resurrection with Christ.

Even in the midst of the Easter Season in which we rejoice for the victory of Jesus Christ over death, in the anticipation of our own sharing in that victory on the last day, in many ways it still feels like Holy Saturday. The feeling is even more pronounced because of continuation of the coronavirus plague.

So, here we are in the tomb of this life, with Jesus. Sealed, as it were, in the cold stone tomb. But it’s not bad to be aware of it. The idea of being “in the tomb,” understood in this way, is good for silence. God speaks in the silence. His voice can be better heard now. That’s one of the reasons why I think that great good will come out this present situation in time, and why God may be allowing this. We can already see it at work. Isaiah 43:19. Back in the middle of March, it occurred to me that it was in the silence that the prodigal son, “came to his senses.” (Luke 15:17).

When I heard the words that we hear every Ash Wednesday reminding us that “thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return,” I had no clue how real and tangible these words would become. We are constantly confronted with the fragility of life, the realization that we are just dust and will return to dust.

Just a few days after that Wednesday,, I was faced with a reminder ofHow fleeting life can be. A newNurse was working with me one morning. When changing my T-shirt, a small valve opening on the front of the tracheostomy got snagged and opened. Air began to escape and a sense of panic came over me as I thought that this nurse would not be able to detect because of the problem. To my dread, I was correct – – he had no idea what was wrong. The opening was so small and the shirt, still on me, obscured it. He couldn’t see it. To make things worse, it wasn’t a total leak of air and so the alarm didn’t go off. my being able to speak, I mouthed the words, “call mom.” Thankfully he understood but he didn’t really make much effort to do this. Suddenly the guy decides that I need to be suctioned. I know that if this is attempted – – if an increase of air is not given, if the loss of air increases, I will surely pass out. So as the nurse holds the suction catheter and gets close, I’m thinking, “this is it. It’s all over for me.” Seconds before he is about to disconnect my tracheostomy tube to suction me, my eyes are watering and everything is starting to get hazy. I looked up at the picture of Jesus the Divine Mercy and asked him, “is this how it ends?” Right then, my mom opened the door and walked in. Almost immediately, she detected the problem and closed the valve and I could breathe easy, literally. Needless to say this particular nurse will not be working for me again.

I almost had a similarly life threatening situation again . Secretions of mucus blocked my airway and I couldn’t speak. The nurse Y was working, filling in for W (who, wouldn’t you know it, was exposed to someone who has had potential contact with somebody with coronavirus), paused after suctioning me once. I couldn’t speak to tell her to quickly suction again to clear the plug. After making efforts of nodding my head to indicate to go in again, she suctioned out the plug which was thick and yellow-green (sorry).

Anyway, these near brushes with death are nothing new.

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