A Christian community is therefore a healing community, not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision. Mutual confession then becomes a mutual deepening of hope, and shared weakness becomes a reminder to one and all of the coming strength…Thus ministry can indeed be a witness to the living truth that the wound, which causes us to suffer now, will be revealed to us later as the place where God intimated a new creation.—Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer (pg. 100, 102)
If I had to settle on a single word to describe my experience of the last several years, the only one that feels somewhat honest is “surgery.” To be blunt, I’d much rather use a word like “transformation” or perhaps the lofty “metamorphosis.” I like those words. They sound pleasant. Heroic even. Within lies the hint of a beautiful and anticipated birthing.
What I’ve experienced over the last three years has been anything but heroic. Instead it was more a reluctant and somewhat resistant submission to a soul surgery.
A necessary wounding for what would end up being a greater healing.
Although it would not be too much of a stretch to describe what has happened to me—body and soul—as a birth, it was not pleasant. Nor do I believe I’ve yet landed in the blissful beautiful result. I’m yet in progress.
Even so, this soul surgery has done its work and, in the process, I believe I’m a bit more whole now than I was before, even if covered with a few more scars. This is what God does, I think. He takes the very thing that held the power to destroy us and, instead, uses it to save us. The fatal wound becomes the freedom of a new creation.
For me, cancer and the resulting treatments and surgeries (somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen of them) forced a radical altering of my body, though not for the better. I struggle on a daily basis to do things like eat, swallow, speak or simply find the energy to do more than a few hours of work.
But, as it turns out, the real surgery—the surgery that was needed far more than the cancer surgeries—was the surgery on my heart, mind and soul. The kind of spiritual surgery that involved the slicing of unhealthy beliefs and diseased patterns, removing them so new and better life could take seed and grow.
Seeing me as my Creator sees me
It’s now been thirty-six months since cancer treatment ended, and I began the process of healing and rebuilding what was left of my life. In that time, I guess you could say I’ve been burying the old Michele, grieving her, missing her, wishing I could have her back.
Simultaneously, I’ve been giving birth to the new Michele, the one who still, at times, feels a bit foreign to me. The one I resisted at first, but am now learning to embrace. And, in a very real sense, the vast majority of my healing has involved, simply, trying to get to know her. Seeing her the way God sees her. And making peace with her.
Part of that grueling journey of deep self-evaluation, I’ve also taken a close look at who I believe my Creator created me to be. And how this true self can best shine her tiny little light in this often dark world. This has led me to evaluate what I do—as a writer, speaker, leader, mentor, business owner, artist. All of it.
I’ve spent hours and days and weeks doing professional surgery—wrestling with what some would call my “brand” or my “message.” Ultimately, I want to live—at home, at work, and in all my relationships—honestly. I want to be the same person everywhere, and to be fully present to my truest self whether I’m in my office alone reading a book or standing on a stage speaking to a crowd.
The results of all this surgery? Well, it’s more than I can write in a single post. But for now I will share with you a slice:
Welcome to my new website. This is, as best as I can discern, the most accurate reflection of who I am, who God has made me to be, and how He wants me to shine His light through the scarred-up, healed-up gift of my one life.
At least for today.
So WELCOME. I’m glad you’re here. Make yourself at home, take a look around, help yourself to whatever you need right here, right now. I’m glad we’re in this together.