I was raised as a Christian Scientist with the understanding that since God, Love, is the only power, sickness does not have the right or the power to impose itself on me or anyone else, and since childhood I have experienced exceptionally good health. On occasions when I have struggled with physical challenges, I have generally been able to overcome them quickly through prayer, seeing them as an imposition on my true being as God’s child.
However, one ongoing exception was a struggle with menstrual cramps that started to happen occasionally when I was a teenager, and became recurring and more severe as time went on. By the time I was in college I expected to deal with debilitating pain for at least a day or two every month. I did pray about this challenge, but I also accepted it to a degree as “normal.” I was accustomed to confronting sickness or injury as being clearly false, but the cramps just seemed like a routine part of being a woman. For many years I struggled through extreme discomfort on a monthly basis, always hoping that the dreaded day or two each month wouldn’t coincide with anything important.
So when I landed in Miami for a two-day trip a couple of years ago and felt the familiar pain and discomfort starting, I thought that the timing couldn’t be worse. The 48-hour window that I generally expected to spend feeling weak, tired, and in overwhelming pain was almost exactly the length of my planned stay. To make matters worse, I was in town for a two-night event at which a friend was going to be honored, and she had given her only two guest spots to another friend and me. I felt as though I would be letting both friends down, and squandering a coveted spot that could have gone to someone else, if I stayed in the hotel room to sleep.