Write In Between

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Waiting for the lab report...(or meanwhile, at the Conference)

This post continues to chronicle my breast cancer story as I approach 10 years cancer-free.

In the summer of 1995, my husband visited Franciscan University in Steubenville for a Men's Conference. After his return, we decided that the following summer, I would have a turn to go to Steubenville for a summer conference. When the next summer's conferences were posted, I eagerly signed up to at one entitled "Mary, Mercy, and the Eucharist." There was an extraordinary listing of speakers and I couldn't wait to go.

As I waited for the conference, months away, I began to discuss it with my friend A. She considered the possibility of her going along, too. I knew I was already scheduled to go, but having a friend along would be a bonus, not to mention, raising the fun quotient of the whole trip.

I'm so glad the Lord saw to it that we could attend together, right down to the details of sitting next to each other on a crowded flight.

Please note the timing of this (just in case you believe in coincidences instead of the Lord's providence): the Lord had plans for me to go to that Conference on that weekend--exactly at the time that I was waiting for my pathology results from the breast biopsy... The Lord had me planning that trip almost a year in advance! He alone could see into the future--and He used that weekend away to pour in His Grace and Mercy into me, in preparation for the battle ahead and beyond.

It was interesting that I was not able to get the lab results before I left for the trip. As it turns out, it was for the best. I was able to give my fullest attention to the Spirit and the talks of the weekend. God had my attention, and He used it in a powerful way.

My first prayer time in the chapel yielded two important scriptures for my meditation that weekend:

Matthew 10: 24-25: "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.

It is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher. I knew that Jesus was preparing to teach me something truly valuable that weekend, and I was longing to receive it. How much would I imitate Him? I could hardly know, but I had an inkling.

The next scripture spelled it out: Matthew 10: 38: and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Not being worthy to be a disciple? Ouch! That hurt more than my stitches. So, I envisioned my cross. Little did I know that very afternoon, as I sat contemplating God's Word, the biopsy report was being prepared.

And so, while the pathologist's prepared the paperwork, the Lord prepared me with Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Some deep inner healing was taking place. Both in my prayer times, and through the sacraments. A moment of grace was encountering Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I won't bore you with the details, but following reconciliation I was drawn to my knees for a very long time. The Lord's presence was palpable; I could touch it, and I know He was pulling my heart deeper into His Sacred Heart. Tears of fear, sorrow, joy and peace flowed out of me like I'd not experienced in years. It is enough to say that I knew that Jesus knew everything about my cancer concerns, my life, and my future. I had every confidence in that. I felt--no, it was beyond a feeling--I had deep knowledge that I was in a deep state of grace.

There was something else too--I was light-hearted, joyful even.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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