Oniontown Pastoral #1: My Wife Sleeping

Oniontown Pastoral #1: My Wife Sleeping

IMG_4284I’ve been going to bed by 9:00 p.m. lately and waking up several times during the night–changes in established rhythms. Wife Kathy and I have pruned home to 1000 square feet. My pastor work has slimmed to part-time to make room for writing. And Kathy cries out whenever she rolls over.

As our friends know, Kathy climbed to unfurl the royals on Brig Niagara. She put a new roof on our old house, remodeled the bathroom, fashioned a patio out of salvaged brick, and planted flowers I could never name.

When we bought our little house, which I call the hermitage, Kathy willed the dingy place into fresh order with elbow grease and doggedness. She has big plans: a vegetable and herb garden with raised beds; a deck cobbled together with wood from a backdoor ramp she will saw into pieces; and, of course, flowers.

Kathy has plans, but as we found out a few weeks ago, she also has rheumatoid arthritis. Questions still outnumber answers. Will medication help? Diet? Exercise? Can the condition be coaxed into remission?

She has swollen joints, particularly at the fingers and wrists, and pain all around. A steroid helps for now, but it’s not a long-term solution. Her spirit still sings. Just now she sent me this message: “I hope you are enjoying your morning writing time. You should try to get out for a walk today. What a lovely day. Love you.”

Lovely day, indeed. Lovely human being!

This morning at 1:48 I woke up, sipped some water, and watched Kathy sleep. She should win awards for the dexterity and variety of her snoring. A couple of exhales in a row, her throat sounded like a playing card being flip-flip-flipped by bicycle spokes.

When I smoothed hair away from her forehead, she started. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. For the first time in my life, I heard a complete, discernible sentence uttered in mmms. Cadence alone provided the words: “Oh, that’s okay. You can put your hand on my head.”

So I held her hair between the fingers of one hand, rested the other on her puffed out knuckles, and prayed—sort of. If wanting to draw pain out of my wife by touch, to take it upon myself, counts as prayer, then I prayed.

And if “Oh, my dear” counts, then I prayed without ceasing. How many times did moving a little bring rapid breaths and four or five ows out of her sleep?

“Your hands?” I asked.

“My leg,” she answered.

“Oh, my dear.”

She returned to snoring. I looked at her face and longed for a miracle, but I’m eccentric, a pastoral black sheep. You would expect articulate petitions from a trained theologian, but I pray best by breathing.

Each time Kathy resumed snoring, I drew close again and kept vigil. In our shadowy bedroom, we lay bathed in holy light.

One belief granted me sleep: every cry ripples in the waters of Eternal Love.

P. S. Please stay tuned for further Oniontown Pastoral posts and other explanations and solutions.

11 thoughts on “Oniontown Pastoral #1: My Wife Sleeping

  1. I have one of the thousands of supposed remedies that pop up often and sometimes even work – a little: They say that raisons soaked in gin (go figure) for a week, and then eaten five each day eases arthritis…or if it doesn’t maybe you don’t notice. Hug her for us.
    Vince K.

  2. Wishing you both
    relaxed, restful sleep, as needed.
    My mother had RA with the same painful joints.
    If she kept relatively warm
    with movements & stretching
    life was pleasant.
    Meds may make life
    more painless & pleasant.
    May she be well 🙂

    • Hi, Marge. Hey, we ought to start a pain support group, huh? Hope you’re on the mend. A steroid is helping quite a bit, but we’ll see how things shake down for the long haul. Love, John and Kathy

    • Thanks for the prayers, Deb. Kathy is on a steroid now, which is helping a lot. We’ll see what ends up working for the long haul. Peace, John

  3. I’m so sorry to read of Kathy’s RA diagnosis. Maria, “Brick House Chick”, and your co-winner of the Cock Soup giveaway, has been living with RA for 20 years. She may be a source of information and comfort to you and Kathy. I’d link to her blog but I’m on a mobile phone, in the airport, at the moment. Good luck.

    • Hey, Nancy. Kathy is on a steroid right now, which is helping a lot. Not a good long-term answer, but we’ll see how this thing goes. I’ll look up Maria’s blog. Here’s hoping my Cock Soup sister has a good word. Hope all is well with you. Peace, John

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