Weeping May Endure for a Night

~by Louis Templeman

Faced with continuous health issues as he deals with his Parkinson’s, Lou falls into a dark night of the soul…and then there is light!

My primary care P. A. sent me for a colonoscopy. He convinced me his referral would be a breeze. Still it took me four months to make the call. I did not find it pleasant but it certainly tolerable. There was no cramping and the bathroom time came in incremental periods. I was able to watch Hulu and pause my show every 20 minutes or so. I did not sleep much but it was much more tolerable.

I went to bed about 3:00 a.m. The laxative was consumed in a 2-part sequence – at 6:00 p.m. and midnight. I lay in bed for an hour before sleep came. As I waited I got down my rosary which I keep hanging on the bedstead. After 20 minutes I put it up and began to meditate according to the Ignatian method taught by Jim Manney in The Prayer That Will Change Your Life. As directed, I searched for my chief feeling of the previous day which was indeed the chief feeling I’ve had for several months now. My mind and heart have been pummeled by the tragic story of my oldest daughter’s chronic back pain. She has such a remarkable faith as well as an indefatigable sense of humor. All through our phone conversations she makes me laugh. Then we hang up and I cry. For 25 years since she was 16 she has had dozens of surgeries. She is like the woman in the New Testament story who spent all her money on doctors and was none the better. No matter how much I pray for her she seems to get worse.

Parallel with that tragedy is my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease which causes a cough due to tremors in my wind pipe and chronic fatigue. I cannot work in my yard or garden more than 1 1/2 hours a day and then again not every day.

As I lay in bed meditating with the Holy Spirit, I laid issues before him as examples of his not caring for me. My complaint was sincere, with bitterness and I really tried to listen so the conversation would not just go one way.

Then in my mind’s eye I received a sober realistic overview, synopsis, of the miseries I’ve encountered for 65 years. Some of them I caused and some where I was victimized.

I was born into a family that would have been better off without me. My mother was so thoroughly bullied and humiliated by my Dad and his family that her life became a numbing sleepwalk into clinical depression.

She had the belief that she should not fondle or caress her boys for fear of passing on some dread sexual malfeasance. This had always made me curious about what she experienced in her own childhood. The first time I remember hugging her was when I was 21 and she was 40 where we got caught up in the excitement of a meeting with an auditorium full of charismatic Christians. Speaking in tongues, hugging and generous offerings were the rites of passage for participants in this religious pilgrimage.

From a toddler to a high school senior I was relentlessly bullied and beat on by my older brother. I was also introduced to pornography and sexual preoccupation by the same sibling. As a 19 year old youth I was poised to embark on a career as a journalist when my father pulled the rug out from under me – a complicated story. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. He simply did not see me. I was invisible. I think the only time he really saw any one in the family was when he looked in the mirror.

Later on my first wife destroyed our little family when she began sleeping with my little brother. These and a host of other betrayals and dark journeying paraded through my imagination like so many old photos. I fell asleep in tears. After I awoke from the anesthetic I was amazed at the positive experience I’d had with the fasting and purging on day one and the procedure the morning of day two. My wife, stood beside my bed as they woke me up. She was amazing to look at. She is the one who made the difference this time. I was not alone.

Sitting in my hospital bed – certainly the afterglow of anesthesia must come into play – at that moment I entered into a reverie and the Holy Spirit transported me for several hours until, at home, I fell asleep for a needed nap. The panoply of my past and the prognosis of my present and future health were called into question. Their importance faded like fog before the rising sun. I was for a precious moment ensconced within the Eternal Now. I entered into the listening side of the Divine conversation and heard, “Louis, are you cared for now?” I knew I was. I knew I would be forever. The verse came to me as I took my wife’s hand, “Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.” The cool thing is Joy is also my wife’s name.

Hope is an orientation of the heart and spirit. It is not believing things will turn out well but the certainty that things will make sense no matter how they turn out. ~Vaclav Havel


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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