Write In Between

Friday, May 05, 2006


There are days that we meet our destiny straight on, and it's not a pretty sight. Just as some of us can remember exactly where we were when Kennedy was shot, or when the Challenger blew up, or when the planes struck the first tower on 9/11... I'll never forget the day I found the lump. May 5, 1996.

Yes, I'm talking about the kind of lump that a women finds in her breast.

Ten years ago today, I found one in my right breast upon waking. It was a bright, cool, spring morning. And I thought I felt something odd, a kind of ridge-like protrusion near my arieola. I thought it was just my imagination. I moved into the bathroom, leaving my still snoozing husband in bed on that Sunday morning. I took off my night shirt and looked in the mirror. At first, I thought I had maybe slept on my breast in a funny way, causing this malformation. I turned on the water for the shower. I recall standing by the bathroom window while I waited for the hot water to come up. I glanced out into the back yard. Our Lady's statue stood guard over the moment from her pedestal in the garden. Like a comforting mother, she was with me in that awkward instance as I performed a breast self-exam.

Nope. There was no mistaking this. This was a bonafide lump. My first words out loud were Lord, have mercy as I sank down in the shower stall and began to cry.

I remember crawling back into bed, hair still damp, and burrowing my head in my husband's shoulder. I quietly announced my news and told him of my finding and my drenching prayer. I told him that I thought the Lord was telling me to prepare for a long haul. He was. (Even though my loving, consoling husband didn't want me to jump to any conclusions.) In between the drops of water beating down on my body in that shower, I had truly sensed the Lord's warning, and assurance, and presence. Now my husband's fingers traced the reality I already understood.

How could I have had such clarity, like a word of knowledge, at a moment like that? Because my Easter season had been preceded by a Lent I will never forget... one that called me "to be" rather that "to do." A Lent that somehow instructed my heart that my then-3-year-old would be my last child. My Lenten journey had called me deeper into union with Jesus, the Suffering One. And so, I was ready for whatever was coming next, with a curious resolve, and yet, normal dread.

From May until October of that year I realized my deepest fears, grappled with my own spiritual poverty, and slowly made decisions that changed my life as I knew it. Yet, as I suffered with this lump, and all it brought me, I can look back years later and see the gift of that lump. It caused me to see that I was *Living Under Mercy's Protection.

The next few posts over the coming week will unfold this story. I can only write a bit at a time. I pray that I can write it from the perspective of someone who is now alive and well and living to tell of the blessings and redemption I found in weakness, surrender, and yes, suffering.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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