A time to keep silence
Later will come a time to speak
I’ve been writing weekly essays here for months. Not because anyone asked me to, not because anyone expected me to, not because I promised to. Simply because the words flowed, and the flowing gave me life in the midst of what felt like death.
This week I cannot write, or work, or do much of anything besides burrow into bed. I have nothing crafted for you today, and that is fine. I know we all agree on that.
Surgery looms in less than two weeks. (You can stay updated here, though I have exactly zero energy for sarcasm or spiritualizing anything right now.) In the midst of trying to prepare for the emotional and physical intensity of what mastectomy will mean, I experienced a horrible and intensely painful biopsy this week. After four or five biopsies in the past seven months, I thought I knew what to expect. But unexpected complications ensued; I had to have a different procedure at the last minute; and I was given neither adequate preparation, pain management, care or support.
To say it was traumatic would be a roaring understatement.
Thank God I have better medical and mental health professionals in my corner to help me try and get my mind and body back into a pseudo-decent place for surgery. But I cannot do anything else right now. I had planned to keep writing here for a bit, put a plan for Advent into place, give myself the gift of two months for recovery, and keep Mothering Spirit going in my absence. Now I do not know if any of that will happen. All I can do is care for my own health and healing. It is a terrible place to be, even harder than I expected.
So thank you for your understanding, your support, your prayers, your financial generosity, your shared shaking of your fists at the sky alongside me. Suffering is everywhere we turn these days, but we are here together and I remain convinced God is among us, despite boundless evidence to the contrary.
Before I leave, unsure of when I can return, I want to say one last thing.
If you have ever experienced something of the same at the hands of people who were supposed to help you—too much, too fast, in my wise friend Ellie’s definition of trauma—I am so sorry. I believe you. It should never have happened. Whether individuals or systems failed you, it was not your fault. You do not need to minimize the memory, make meaning of the suffering, or bright-side your resilience. It was wrong.
I pray that you can believe you are worthy of being heard, held, and healed from the experience, even decades later. I know that far too many of you have endured this kind of terrible pain, and you have my prayers.
In peace, and hope, and stubborn faith that we were made for more than this—
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