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Having a spinal fusion is like rolling the dice. You might win. You might not. On balance I am satisfied with the outcome and would do it all over again. But.  There are days when my back hurts at the surgical site or near it.  I am too far post-op to get any opioids for pain. Naproxen, acetaminophen or ibuprofen work sometimes, but some days I think I could accomplish as much pain management with Tic-Tacs.

This morning, around 4:30, was one of those times. I was up for a while, went back to bed, still hurting. I said to myself, “Why don’t you pray The Rosary?”  So I did. The Glorious Mysteries. All five Decades. I then read part of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s The Three Conversions Of The Spiritual Life. It is a profound, little book, dense with observations about the devout life.

I won’t say the pain miraculously and dramatically departed, but it lessened in intensity. My self-absorption with the pain went away.  I went to the 7:00 AM Mass at Mary, Mother of the Church Abbey. Another crack in the facade of self-absorption.

I came home, finally sleepy. About the time I woke up, a fellow alcoholic, whom I didn’t know called. He needed a ride to a meeting. So we went. 

“Out of self, into others.” is one of those AA slogans, simple yet true.  I’ve spent the day living in the spirit of that slogan. I feel a lot better. Useful.