I got a phone call on Friday after a long week of good, fun, tiring and yet rewarding work. It was not a number that I or my phone recognized and I’m usually tempted to let those go to voice mail since you never know if it’s a survey or a wrong number or who knows. But for once, I didn’t. It was a student who had something to give me. A pastor of hers knew that she was a student at Winthrop so she wanted to pass something along to me. That’s all she really said. So I had no idea what this could be.
When she stopped by Wesley, she handed me a beautifully colored picture. I love rainbows and bright colorful things so I liked the picture instantly. She then said that it was a Mandala and as the picture says on the back – it’s a contemplative practice. Rev. Annie Edwards who I don’t know, created this for me during my brain surgery in 2010. She started it at 11:45 am and finished it at 1:30 pm – truly roughly the time of my surgery. As she writes on the back, “This was done for you during your surgery, with love and compassion. Your Dad is my friend.”
It’s beautiful and something I’ll treasure. As are the prayer shawls, books, pictures, everything that has been passed along to me that I can share with others.
I am admittedly sometimes flippant about the surgery and I in some ways am pretty successful at brushing it off. In my day to day life – I don’t walk around with a sign around my neck that mentions it. When I get an invitation to the survivor’s dinner for Relay for Life, I am more often than not – surprised. But I think, as is often the case with the things that we are flippant about, most of my bravado comes from a place that is truly grateful and humbled by the outpouring of love and support – so much so that I don’t know if I can express how much it means or how much even when it’s not at the forefront of my mind – that I depend and rely on the prayers and the Spirit of mercy and grace that I feel ever present.
It’s not something that I’m afraid to talk about, but it is something that’s deeply personal. So yes, I keep it on the About Me part of the blog – though I’ve debated that – and it becomes a part of the fabric of my life. Not definitive of all of who I am, but yes a defining moment….among many.
One of the things that struck me on Friday was yes, the picture, but also what the girl from Winthrop who I’ve never met, said to me as she delivered. She talked about what a miracle it is. I asked her what she meant and she said, “You. It’s miraculous.” No, this is not a big head moment. I’m not slapping myself on the back. But part of me did want to slap my forehead at the “Doh!” moment. I don’t know about you but I think it’s easier for me to see the miracles around me – my students, Spring, healing of friends and family, the birth of a child – but it’s harder to see ourselves in that way. I don’t know if we can even wrap our minds around that. But we can sure as heck be grateful. And hugely grateful at that. For the prayers of so many, for the love that encircles us, and for the hope of the resurrection.
During this Holy Week, my hope is that I not rush straight to the resurrection but that I take time to attend to the twists and turns between Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday and that I’m attentive to all that is the darkness and despair of Good Friday because we all have felt and walked and witnessed times like that. And that when I hear the Good News of the resurrection on Easter morning that I feel both the impossibility and the miraculous and the ever present and real hope and promise that it offers. May we know and see the miracles in each of our lives, our communities and the world around us and may we claim and treasure them!
** Dad’s reflection on this time period – Holy Saturday Redux – http://wtmcclendon.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/holy-saturday-redux/ I think about it around this time of year…and I appreciate his honesty.