shine a light

Normally, I would be hesitant to begin a post with a quote from the Bible. As a recovering Catholic, I shy away from anything that suggests preachiness. But here is a beautiful image that I saw in my eye surgeon’s office yesterday. It’s calligraphy by an artist named Michael Noyes. Although the translation of this verse that I prefer comes from the NRSV (“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”), I can still relate. In my case, I suffered an injury to my left eye that I have been dealing with for months now, but has hopefully been healed by a procedure I had done last Thursday. I can tell you from experience that Matthew 6:23 is also true: “But if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The exclamation point says it all. Of course, Jesus isn’t just speaking about bodily health here; he is talking about spiritual health. But when you are in pain, be it physical or spiritual, then not only yourself, but the whole world, can seem full of nothing but darkness. I woke this morning, pain-free, and hearing the birds outside my window. This, after spending the last five days recuperating at home, mostly in my darkened bedroom, listening to music, wearing dark glasses, and occasionally pleasantly numb from pain medication. As I predicted in my last post, Spiritualized was streaming almost nonstop through my headphones. That, and Jason Pierce’s earlier group, Spacemen 3. (Funny that one of Spacemen 3’s albums I had on constant repeat was called Forged Prescriptions) I also had what I can only describe as various totems and charms scattered around my bed. The hard wooden mala beads bought from a Zen Buddhist monastery in upstate New York. The yellow Livestrong bracelet. The copper statue of the Buddha from Thailand. The plastic Kung Fu Panda Happy Meal toy my kids bought for me at a yard sale a few years ago that says “Skadoosh” when you pull on his arm. The get-well card from my pen pal in Portland, Oregon. The Oxford Bible. Maybe all of these things healed me. Maybe none of them did. Maybe it was my surgeon’s tools and his calm, sure hands. The truth is, I’m not sure if I’m really healed at all. Not the all-the-way, without-a-doubt kind of healed anyway. Jason Pierce sings a lot about Jesus in his music. In fact one reviewer classified his music into three types: Love songs, drug songs, God songs. Healing can happen in many ways, an even though today is a rainy day, my whole body is full of light.

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