Since August, I have not had a real bath or shower. Ewww, I know. It sounds worse than it is. I get sponge baths at least five times a week, but it’s not the same as getting into a shower and have water (hot or cold) running over your body.
Last week, Cecilia washed my hair outside. At the very end, I asked her to pour the water that was still left in the bowl over my hands and arms. As the warm liquid spilled onto my hands, I could not stop crying. Even now, a week later, tears come as I reminisce the feeling of water running over me. There are few things in life as cathartic as water. I understood at that moment why God chose to use water to baptize new believers. I also understood why total immersion is often preferred over sprinkling. Not that I believe one saves a soul over the other, but go as long as I have without water being washed over the body and you’ll have a new found appreciation of the healing qualities water has.
Two years ago I had an extreme adverse reaction to a chemo pill I was taking. I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, but after over two years of the cancer seemingly being held at bay by estrogen killing drugs, my cancer markers were moving up in the wrong direction. My oncologist recommended that we start a new treatment. I was beginning to feel stiffness in my neck and lower back so I was in complete agreement with his assessment.
For a few weeks, everything was okay, but then I was suddenly in an enormous amount of pain, barely able to stand straight. Fear began to creep into my heart. Our management team at work was about to participate in a team building summit which included an overnight camping excursion at Doheny State Beach. Refusing to give in to the pain, I decided I would do whatever it took to go in.
For inexplicable reasons, once we were there I felt a deep need to walk to the edge of the ocean and put my feet into healing water. One would have thought I would have run directly to the water, but due to the pain, it was difficult for me at first to move from the captain’s chair the team put up for me at the center of the campground and walk towards the shore.
Shortly before dusk came, I gingerly made my way towards the water. As I got closer to the water, my steps quickened until the water was beneath my bare feet. The water surged forward, magically swirling around my ankles. The foam seemed to gobble up my feet as they disappeared under the milky white substance. I softly whispered prayers begging God to heal me, take my pain, eradicate my cancer. I wish I could say I danced and jumped my way back to the campground, but the pain was still as intense as ever. My faith was still there, too. The water healed me in a different way.The fear in my heart subsided.
That night despite the fog horn that apparently kept sounding off in a regular interval, the roar of the train that rattled the tents every so often, not to mention the endless beating of the water against the sand, I slept soundly. It was an answer to prayer and the catharsis affect of water.