“You’re doing so well, Mary Elizabeth. Just two more stitches,” the emergency room surgeon said as mother gripped my hand, diverting my attention to the ice skaters on the wall calendar hanging next to me. “I know this hurts but there’s no way I could give you an anesthetic for that cut on your shin—a nasty one.” Ten years old then, screaming heaved my entrails. In no way could I break free from the hungry alligators chewing on me, then spitting blood parts on the grass.

Such was my first experience with surgeons and harrowing pain. With each recurring insult over the years, the wounds and bones eventually healed and I resumed my life, but my body remembered and still does. A subsequent wariness seemed to harness my senses to skirt additional injury, and a growing compassion for others, so wounded, adhered to my spirit.

Through heart-prayer I also learned to reframe such experiences.The third Beatitude of Jesus of Nazareth was critical in this process: Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted. Its inclusion in the psalms and the prophets reiterates God’s critical interest in our lives, expecially when brought to our needs. In my perception, Jesus’s own satiation with loss informs this beatitude, a satiation far more horrific than ours. He, too, experienced the comforting, but not in the usual sense of the word: a comforting that opens the psyche to the ultimate of mysteries, the redemption itself. Within his suffering, ours makes sense.

Within this beatitude, Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted, I take solace with each day’s incremental loss advancing me toward my transition. When rough spots occur, I pray, “He knows.” This is working out …