The struggles that have come from my injuries have only increased in subsequent days. In addition to those already sustained, it is seeming as if my wrist is broken from a fall two months ago. Often simply the strain of this in addition to holding up my responsibilities at work bring me nearly to tears. Yet I do feel as if with greater suffering comes greater grace from you. It is hard to keep my suffering entirely to myself and I don’t entirely understand your desire for this, but I trust in you and strive to have joy. O God, I thank you for your mercy and although I may not feel it at times, I thank you for your grace which enables us to partake in the suffering of Jesus. O my Mother Mary, give me strength.
– Prayer Journal, July 9, 2018
Isaac said he had difficulty keeping his suffering “entirely to himself.” I remember him being slightly down after he crashed his bike that ruined all his new cycling gear, causing him pain and putting him in an arm brace. Isaac describes suffering throughout his journal, but his family rarely knew about any of it. Clearly, he made a point to not burden us with his cares. Instead, we knew him to be entirely present to others. He always sought to encourage us and focus on our needs. This journal entry shows how he aimed to keep most of his suffering between him and God.
Below is an art journal entry, a year later, after the third time he broke the same wrist:
It was not so long ago that I thought I was young enough that there was nothing that could keep my body from perfection. But my teeth have cavities, the skin on my face sags, my wrist has been in a brace for seven months of the last year and a half and will probably never be the same again. My body already knows decay. – Nov ’18
A photo of the art journal entry is below:
Again, we heard no complaints about this third break. Instead, Isaac recounted with joy about how his arm brace turned out to be a blessing in many ways. He gave us one example–he was walking along the road in Cyprus after missing the last bus because he had attended a late night liturgy. A priest stopped to give him a ride, saying he only did so because he recognized Isaac by his cast. Separately, the archaeology foreman in Cyprus exclaimed that Isaac did more work with one arm than anyone else.
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