It been six weeks since my last post here. Six weeks since surgery and The Unknown interrupted life.
It’s blurred into a ball of days, filled with pain and healing, struggle and joy.
Yes. Even joy.
I wish I had something profound for you today, like a rare, shiny something sitting in my hand. Then I could extend it in meaningful offering.
For these past forty-two days, I’ve wondered what I would say when I lifted my life from the pillow and once again sat down to write. Now that I’m here, I find words like a buttefly not yet ready to land. To be honest, the struggle of all this—of heart, mind, body—still consumes. It will ease, I know. Already has, many times over. I’m healing better than expected. Soon enough, a measure of ordinary will settle back in, and life will move forward, beyond illness. Perhaps, then, revelation will land.
But for today, all I have to offer is the girl who’s still healing from all the jagged cuts and gashes. I’m still a bit raw, undone. Healing can not be rushed, I’ve learned.
Even so, from this messy place mid-recovery, I can say this:
I’m not the same person I was six weeks ago.
Something deeper than the six-inch scar on my neck has been altered. I imagine a part of me has died, even as another part came alive. This both terrifies and thrills me.
These forty-two days have been some of the most difficult I’ve endured. “Where did April go?” some of you asked, only this morning. But while six weeks passed in a flurry for some, for others—for me—the long stretch of days were conquered like individual Everests, each a climb.
But in the dreadful pockets of darkness, when strength waned and heart sank, help arrived. I looked up to see a hand extended: A letter. Message. Care package. Flowers. Cup of soup. Bible verse. Voicemail. Card.
“They show up at the most unexpected times, often the most desperate times,” I recently explained to a friend. “I can hardly believe the kindnesses, the unending stream of words and reassurances from friends and strangers alike.” I shook my head, unable to make sense of the outpouring. “The truth is I’ve come to depend on them as much as my every 3-4 hour pain pills. The nearness of others is helping me heal.”
… The three straight weeks of hot meals prepared for my husband and children.
… The friend who, although confined to bed and a suffering I cannot imagine, texted me nearly every single day for two solid months, to remind me of faith and courage, and to never stop living.
… The woman who, quietly and without fanfare, committed to fast and pray during those long weeks when I couldn’t eat. To share in my suffering.
… The friend who, when my husband returned to work and I could not be left alone, watched over me for hours as I slept.
… The group of Christian inmates who somehow heard my story, and committed to pray from their prison cells.
… The pair of sisters who, on behalf of a church we don’t attend, loaded up a car with groceries for our family.
… The women’s ministry who pray for my healing every Thursday when they meet. And remind me they have not forgotten.
… The co-workers who, on the darkest of nights, mourned and prayed on bent knees a thousand miles away, doing battle for my life.
… The pictures of so many wrists wearing bracelets, sent with reminders that the prayers have not, will not stop.
… The inner circle of friends who let me mourn and question over long text messages, without ever tiring of my words.
… The gathering of church leaders and pastors who circled our family, laid their hands on our heads and shoulders, and cried with us as they prayed.
There is not space enough to record the offerings. They appeared in my mailbox, email, on my front step or in my hand. In better than 3-4 hour intervals, these gifts warded off the dark and pain and reminded me, until it was burned in my heart, that I do not climb my Everest alone.
As it turns out, I do have something rare and shiny and precious sitting in my hand.
Your offerings have been uncommon and unparralled, filled with a love and tenderness and nearness I never expected, but needed more than I imagined.
So I offer this in return, poor words for riches too big to repay:
Thank you. With all my heart, thank you.
You have carried me. And you have changed me.
I’ll never, never forget.