The three things I learned when I was sick this Lent

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"I Thirst" by Pam Spano (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Pam Spano. All rights reserved.

We are all thirsty at some point. Throughout our day, we drink our morning coffee, juice, maybe a carbonated beverage. But it’s water that sustains us and gives us what we need to maintain our everyday life.

I found this out the hard way during a recent illness. I ended up in the hospital for severe dehydration. When I’m in good health, I drink water throughout the day, but during my illness, I was barely taking sips of anything.

As I lay in the emergency room, with an IV bag of saline dripping through my veins, I thought about how I ended up here. I was depressed and miserable.

After many tests with negative results, and a second bag of saline dripped its final drop, I was sent home.

The second half of my illness, I didn’t pray once. It was like I was in a stupor. Why wasn’t I thirsty? Why didn’t I try to hydrate myself? Why didn’t I just pray?

After I started coming out of the fog, John 19:28 kept running through my head. Mother Teresa had those words in every chapel of her order: “I thirst.” It was to remind her nuns to serve the people.

I had my epiphany. It’s Lent. And I literally just came out of the desert. Here are the three things I learned when I was sick this Lent:

  1. Remember “wear sunscreen?” I’m here to tell you to drink water. Lots of water. Keep track. Buy a water bottle with measurements so you know exactly how much you drank throughout the day. Bring it with you everywhere. Keep it by your bed and when you get up for the umpteenth time to go to the bathroom, take a few sips.
  2. Pray. I know it sounds stupid, but when I was ill, I just didn’t. I don’t know why. I am a praying woman and I Hail Mary my way through everything. This time I didn’t. The result? I felt abandoned by God. I was miserable. Not only was my body in pain, but so was my soul. It was awful!
  3. Go to the doctor. I should have gone sooner, but I thought I would get better. No one wants to be a hypochondriac, but we all know our bodies better than anyone else. Self-care is not a bad thing. My family felt bad that they weren’t more helpful. I told them it’s my responsibility and they were doing what they thought was helping me.
"I Thirst" by Pam Spano (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Pam Spano. All rights reserved.

This Lent has been tough so far. Coming out of this has given me a fresh perspective. I have a new appreciation for good health and prayer. I know that we set goals every Lent, but this year, God had a plan for me. I am grateful for the path He chose for me and the lessons learned.


Copyright 2018 Pam Spano

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About Author

I converted to the Catholic faith as an adult over 30 years ago. My conversion story started when I sarcastically said to my Catholic boyfriend at the time, "I suppose if we were to get married, you would want me to convert." He thought for a moment and said, "Well, I am worried about your soul." And so the journey began ...

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