Reflections from a sick bed, brought to you by St. Patrick


This past Wednesday my “life” screeched to a halt. The symptoms of an illness appearing again in the middle of the night, the familiar heaviness that accompanies them, and that deep and sinister malaise in tow. I put “life” in quotes because here I am on the other side, on the road to feeling like myself again, very far from dead, thank God. Yet for those days I was incapacitated, I did feel that this illness stopped me in my tracks, stopped my “life” as I knew it.

As I lay in bed, unable to play with my daughter, eat, drink, or work, I am shocked at how quickly everything had been put on pause, even though I knew my life (the non-quotes version) was not actually in danger (Praise God). All the things I had taken for granted were glaring—preparing a delicious meal and eating it, having the energy to carry Eva Ruth up the stairs to her room, being able to sleep without the crippling nausea constantly waking me. These little things are now precious to me again with a new clarity and sweetness as I recover.

Oh, how grateful I am that the pause button has been released and “life” can continue. Maybe it’s the beautiful sunshine that cannot keep the secret of winter’s ending, but everything has a new kind of shimmer around it. Spring is on its way. The light will very truly overcome the darkness this coming Wednesday, when the Spring Equinox officially makes day longer than night. If we are just willing to see it, “life” and life are glowing with gratitude, grace, and healing.

Below is a prayer often attributed to Saint Patrick. According to tradition, he wrote this prayer for protection upon his return to Ireland, where he was to bring the Christian faith to the country’s king in the 5th-century AD. You can read more about the prayer and St. Patrick here. (For those Grace Church folks, the end might seem familiar: we have been using this prayer as a Benediction during Lent.)

As I arise from my sick bed, I do so with “the strength of the love of the cherubim” (what an image!) and with Christ on every side. Thank you all for your prayers during this time, and a special thanks to all those who showed up this week, loving me back to “life.” You know who you are.


I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

of the Creator of creation.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love of cherubim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In the prayers of patriarchs,

In the predictions of prophets,

In the preaching of apostles,

In the faith of confessors,

In the innocence of holy virgins,

In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through

The strength of heaven,

The light of the sun,

The radiance of the moon,

The splendor of fire,

The speed of lightning,

The swiftness of wind,

The depth of the sea,

The stability of the earth,

The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through

God's strength to pilot me,

God's might to uphold me,

God's wisdom to guide me,

God's eye to look before me,

God's ear to hear me,

God's word to speak for me,

God's hand to guard me,

God's shield to protect me,

God's host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

afar and near.

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.