He stood at the end of my bed and said, ‘I ask my patients if they would like for me to say a prayer before surgery, so would you want me to pray?’ And I answered yes, most definitely. I knew he was going to ask. The nurse had told me earlier that morning what a good Christian man my surgeon was and what a great doctor I had.
He prayed a humble prayer and gave thanks for many things I had taken for granted. Thanks for the hospital. Thanks for the opportunities to serve and trust in the everyday trials. And so much more. Amen.
He told my daughter he would be back to talk to her once the surgery was over. And he walked out of the room–this gentle man of faith.
My heart began to beat a little stronger knowing it was almost time. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous–never having surgery–my first time of being sedated–put to sleep. But there was also this calm and the worry seem to fade.
A petite woman entered my room–in scrubs and of course her plastic surgical cap. She had one for me and I said, are you going to make me wear a fancy cap like yours and her smile brightened even more and said, ‘oh yes. This one is the latest in designer fashion.’ And they got me ready to roll me into surgery. I remember telling my daughter not to worry as a tear rolled down her cheek.
One year ago today.
And months later began the 30 consecutive days of the burning treatments of radiation.
I watched as this lady walked out on the sand–the beach almost bare as the skies grew more dim at the close of the day. She stood in this one area for the longest of moments. Then she looked out over the ocean as in deep thought. And I thought to myself, what is her story? She seemed so sad. Why was she so lost in her thoughts? Alone. And I felt somewhat like an intruder from a distance.
The next evening watching the sun fall I see a small group of people walk over the dunes, a family all dressed up in flowing whites and jeans. At first I assumed it was a beach photo shoot and then as I keep watching a bride appears escorted by her son to a bearded man that awaits with smiles that can be seen for miles. I run back into our house and tell my family–there’s a wedding on the beach! And here we are all silent on the deck watching as they pray. As they hold hands. We watch as they draw each other close in love. And the bearded groom he raises his clenched hand to heaven and gives thanks once again and my family, we all clap in joy.
I knew it! I said to my son. That’s the same woman who was out on the beach last night. Alone in her thoughts. I knew she had a story. And maybe it wasn’t as I had thought–of sadness but more of the shedding of pain from days long ago for the allowing of joy to come.
It’s still hard for me to say out loud, I am a breast cancer survivor. But we are all survivors in many ways–all fighting our own battles–some stories seen, lived out loud and some not. But the goodness of God’s mercy and having those surround you–loving you–lifting you in prayer–that is not merely surviving. It is so much more. It is His grace.
And gratitude comes most abundantly in the wearing of scars. And joy does come in the morning.
It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psalms 30:5, KJV