Monday, May 23, 2011

Living My Dream

by Lucretia Mann

Almost one year ago, I was rushed to the hospital, critically ill.  Following an hour in the ER, I was diagnosed with renal failure and readied for immediate hemodialysis.  After five daily hemodialysis treatments, I was discharged from ICU for five further days of hospitalization.  Miraculously, by the time of my hospital discharge, my blood chemistry had significantly improved and I felt fairly normal AND physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

While in the ER, even though I was aware that I was not thinking especially clearly, I knew I was fighting to survive.  In that battle, I also knew that I needed to let go of all expectations and attachments except my faith in God and desire to live.  I remember symbolically opening my hands to release my hold on the expectations and attachments, even EDS and my postulancy.  For those who know me well, you will appreciate the significance of that release for me:  attending EDS and ordination to the priesthood have been my dream for the past 30 years.  And it was a dream that I had never imagined I would be so blessed to actually experience.

After I had been home one week of my two and one half months’ leave from work, I started to hope that I would be able to pick up those threads of my life.   My hope was sustained by my faith and by the loving support of friends and family.  My three adult sons who live in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area, successively spent five days with me from hospitalization through discharge.  To them I will be forever and deeply grateful.  Their active love sustained me and gave me courage to imagine a future.  My parish family provided meals and transportation to dialysis for the first month.  I was aware of being sustained in prayer by friends and their faith communities and by my EDS family.  To all of you, I am deeply grateful.

As I begin to prepare for the intensive June term at school, I am reflecting on the blessing of even being able to continue at EDS and with my postulancy for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church.  Before this medical crisis, I had never experienced the presence of God and support of praying as I have in the past year.  And I blink with amazement that now, as I write this reflection, I have been back at work for ten months; I have more energy than I have enjoyed in thirty years; and I am still on track to finish my degree in 2013.

I recognize that my own inherent optimism and refusal to view my renal failure catastrophically are factors that contribute to my sense of well being.  Yes, I must perform nightly peritoneal dialysis in my home until I have a kidney transplant.  But, this process occurs largely while I sleep, and I am able to disconnect each morning and resume my life.  Yes, I must plan to have sufficient supplies delivered to Cambridge for each intensive two-week term.  Yes, I must lug my dialysis machine with me on airplanes whenever I travel.  And yes, I must have sufficient protein in my daily diet and restrict my intake of potassium, phosphorous, and sodium.  Even with those considerations, I count myself blessed and I refuse to let the diagnosis of renal failure define who I am or limit my reponse to God's call to ministry and service.

Lucretia Mann is a DL student at EDS with the 2009 cohort and a postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of El Camino Real. Originally from the Boston area and a graduate of Wellesley College, Lucretia completed graduate studies in clinical psychology at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). She moved to Santa Cruz, California nine years ago in order to administer a small VA readjustment counseling center and provide therapy to veterans with PTSD from combat and/or miliitary sexual trauma. Lucretia is the mother of three adult sons who reside in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area, and is a life-long crazed Red Sox fan.


  1. Bravo, Lu! Many, many continued Blessings...There are truly no limits to what God can manifest.

  2. We are rooting for you, Lucretia! Hope to see you in June!