Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pain Attention

I doubt I'll post about the holidays and put up pictures.

Last week (I think), I slipped on the ice going down the hill to the car in the morning. I sat down, hard, and slid for about three feet. Sitting down, I still couldn't see the ice, though I could certainly feel it. I was mostly okay that day (Monday, so it must have been just last week), and the next day, but in the afternoon, it started to hurt more. I went home and took some pain-killers (oh, the lovely things), and felt better.

Until, of course, the rest of the week happened. Fortunately, we had rain and warm weather which snatched away the now-extremely-frightening ice; unfortunately, the metal rods in my back didn't seem to like all the temperature changes. So once I got home from work, I pretty much stole all the pillows and groaned.*

*With library books, and a husband who waited on me hand and foot, so it wasn't that bad; it just hurt a lot.

On Saturday evening, I went to Great Vespers, and it was neat because classes had started, so it was the Festal Choir, and everyone smiled when I came up to the chanter's stand (guilty, late). Although the pain seemed to be worse in the evenings, I didn't really plan on going to Liturgy in the morning: 5 people in the car if I went, an hour-long drive there, long service, waiting around for people to finish their parish ministrations, hour-long drive back... The service itself might be a bit much, and I couldn't exactly find a place to lie down. (If the floor were an option, I would use it.) So I stayed home and slept and slept. (And felt guilty for not going to Liturgy on campus, but still planned to go to work. *sigh*)

Yesterday it snowed and somehow (I'm oblivious to a great many things, including the weather) I was utterly surprised by this. Peterbird went and got the car so it was waiting for me when I went downstairs. After work I went to chapel (though tempted to go home so I could lie down). Fr. Pentiuc gave a little sermon about Sunday's scriptures: James and John wanting to sit and Jesus' right and left, and the healing of the blind man. At first, my thoughts were definitely in the, "It's small vespers! Why does he have to give a sermon! I'm all hurty and everything!" I didn't want to look at him because I was sitting and putting pressure on my spine and that made me sort of grimace and I didn't want the pain in my eyes to come out and stab him or anything, but then he got really interesting. He talked about how James and John wanted to look out at the people, not at Jesus whom they wanted to sit beside, but the blind man wanted to look at Jesus, who was the first person he saw after he was healed. That made me realize I was only looking at myself. Then I realized that my back didn't hurt as much as it had.

Peterbird and I went home. (He drove me up and then went to park the car. He's like that, and I can't seem to get over it. I mean, he's so good to me all the time. Sheesh.) We ate something quickly and then there was the discussion thing about whether or not I would go to class with him. (Spice (okay, spouses if you insist) are now invited to audit one class per semester.) I was ambivalent about Fr. Pentiuc's Christ in the Old Testament class: 1. I wasn't sure whether I could understand him. He's Romanian, and I've had trouble understanding him. At chapel, though, I realized it was because I never had him facing me before; I'd either been behind him in the car, or to his side (I was by the chanter's stand) when he gave sermons before in the (acoustically reverberatory) chapel. 2. I've been interested in the pre-figuring of Christ in the Old Testament. I even tried to read the Book of Isaiah when I was little, because they read it at Mass and Christ was in there and I was all excited and wanted to know what else he said. 3. I'm not good at night classes. I had one at ND and I kept forgetting to go because it was at dinner time, even though it was held in my dorm and there were only four students. 4. I've never taken a class with Peterbird. He's really smart, and he has a head start on all this theology stuff, and he's a really really really good student. Really. I'm competitive, possibly in a bad way. I'm not such a great student. I hate writing papers and avoid it. He hates writing papers, so he does a good job on them, starting early and everything.

In the end, my back helped me decide, because it was such a relief to just lie there after a not-so-great day. I went over (for the second time) his paper for the Three Hierarch's contest thing. Most of my comments the first time were "Huh?" but for the second time I understood better what he was trying to say, so I didn't feel quite as dumb. I was alternating that with reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and by the time Peterbird returned, I had been relaxed enough that I wasn't really hurting.

For whatever reason, I want to be tough and not take pain medication. Of course, this only means that when it really hurts, I'm gonna take as much as I can; and it means that I'm going to whine about it the rest of the time.

For a while, I was asking God to take the pain away. Then I looked back at the weekend. While I was lying in bed, Peter was waiting on me hand and foot, but there's not so much unusual about that. However, I wasn't worrying about cleaning the house. I was worrying about being a burden on Peter: I was looking at him, and seeing all that he does for me. He had helped me plan to sort through my clothes this weekend, and even though I had given up on the idea, he helped me sort through about half of my things in the closet, and I only had to get out of bed to try on a few things. While I was lying in bed, I had plenty of time to think of how I wanted to organize our closet (finally! the horrible "organizer" which is in there is preventing access in so many different ways). While I was lying in bed, I was much nicer to Peter than I usually am.

I've heard it said that pain is the body's way of letting you know something is wrong, but this seems to be an illustration of pain letting me know that I need to pay more attention to my husband. In that case, God, please leave my pain with me.

And it's not like Peterbird won't share his notes from the class with me, since he puts his class notes online anyhow.

Five points if you get the pun in the title. Extra credit if you do the bad pun dance.

—Magda the Bloginator


Blogger Mimi said...

Groan! I get five points.

I'm so sorry you fell, prayers for continued healing.

Tue Jan 24, 01:30:00 PM CST  
Blogger Laura said...

*Bigger Groan than Mimi's*

I am sorry that you fell...but I am so glad you are finding something spiritually edifying in the midst of it...a lesson we could all learn!

We will keep you in our prayers.

Tue Jan 24, 02:48:00 PM CST  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hold on. They now SMILE when women come up to the chanter's stand at Holy Cross? Boy, things have changed in lo, these 6 years.

So sorry about your fall! Sounds painful! I slipped my share, but avoided injury. But I remember those icy slopes well.

Wed Jan 25, 11:22:00 AM CST  
Blogger magda said...

Well, considering it was Mary and Mary Beth doing some smiling, and Mary Beth being in the chanter's chair... The smiling itself isn't too surprising.

Wed Jan 25, 11:36:00 AM CST  
Blogger Virgil Petrisor said...

If I may add my two cents... Things have changed quite a bit from what I hear of times past.

One chant stand is now officially Greek and the other English (alternating right and left each week). Mary Beth is a proto, Mary is a domestiko, and there are a couple of other women who are getting to be pretty good at chant.

Another thing that I was happy about was that, talking to Fr. Gerasimos last semester, he said the spouses of students are welcome to take part in chapel activities when the respective students are on duty (either for chapel clean-up or chant).

I think there are several aspects to these changes. Fr. Seraphim - and the large amount of work he put into translating/transcribing hymns into English - was definitely a factor: it's a lot easier to make a case for English chant when it actually sounds right.

Mary Beth is another factor. She took it upon herself to make sure she could chant with the best of them. She now has a women's Byzantine choir, so a lot more women can become comfortable with chant.

Finally, it seems that there are a number of married seminarians who are very involved in campus life and who don't like their wives feeling like they have no place on campus. There are also a couple of wives who are very good about making sure they aren't ignored.

I hope that explains a few things :)

Wed Jan 25, 02:21:00 PM CST  
Blogger NonnaNaz said...

I'm sorry you're in pain! Back injuries are the pits. It's a blessing to be able to find the good in the midst of suffering. (I'm so not there!)

We'll pray for you.

Wed Jan 25, 03:24:00 PM CST  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I am SO GLAD to hear about these changes! We did start a women's choir while we were there, but it only chanted a few times in the whole four years we were there. And yes, I agree with you that we need a translation that sounds good and is plausible. We also need to all have the SAME translation so that there isn't the argument that "We all know the Greek version, but no one can agree on the English translation."

Thu Jan 26, 10:34:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Madgaleni Ehrs said...

So maybe this is impolite, for a stranger to post out of the blue, but I can't help myself and ask for forgivess for whatever ignorance I'm displaying.

That said, I'm thrilled to have stumbled across Magdalini's blog during a Google search for "kouvouklion" (109 hits only)!

I, too, am Madgaleni, and I'm anticipating joining the icy fun in at Holy Cross next year with my husband, Ephraim, when he starts seminary. We'll be coming from Three Hierarchs in Champaign, IL, which is also home parish of Nichalas & Evangelia March and David & Diana Eynon.

And I'm hoping someone will bear with me as I learn to chant. (Another convert, here.)

Fri Jan 27, 06:01:00 PM CST  
Blogger magda said...

Magdaleni, I'm actually a little jealous of you. The only people I knew before coming here were people I met online: Mr. and Mrs. "Gugg." My husband had met Mrs. Gugg maybe twice at the Holy Dormition Monastery at Rives Junction, though.

Your fellow parishoners are people I'm very happy and blessed to know! The Marches share our wedding date (year and everything), and I'm utterly besotted with the Eynon children (a.k.a. "The Beautiful Children") with lovely parents. So you can't call yourself a stranger any more.

There's a newly formed women's choir this year, and you (and your husband) are always welcome to come to my husband's chant group rehearsals. Each of those groups are places in which I feel comfortable asking "dumb" questions (mostly: "what's this squiggle mean?"), and during which I learn a lot.

We're looking forward to having you on campus. I hope you like brownies.

Mon Jan 30, 01:10:00 PM CST  

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