Happy Birthday to Me (I made it to 54!)

“What do you want for your birthday?” my friend, Pamela, asked.

My birthday last year fell 19 days after my double mastectomy and there were only two things on my mind as multiple drains snaked from my body and my Prevena Wound Vacs hummed.

“All I want for my birthday is clear lymph nodes and a piece of chocolate cake,” I replied.

And dang it, I didn’t even get that.

Once my surgeon gave me my final pathology report, I wasn’t really in the mood for cake.

This morning, one year later, I am sitting on my deck looking out over my garden to the chair where I retreated to grieve that devastating news. I wasn’t supposed to get overheated and the day was warm, so I pulled my chair into the shade of the oak tree in my backyard.

I remember looking up into the branches of that huge tree, mesmerized by the way the leaves swayed back and forth in the breeze. I cried for awhile, leaving my heart open to God when words failed me.

I couldn’t really pray back then. I was too shell-shocked by loss. I couldn’t understand how a good God could allow me to suffer so much. I was in what St. John of the Cross called, “the dark night of the soul.”

How strange to sit here now. Same time of year. Same place. Same chair. Same tree.

But so much has changed. Scars cover me, but I am strong. I am much less “certain” about some things, but far more certain of others. Lingering tendrils of grief cling to me, but I am deeply grateful.

I often think about those of you who are still in the dark night of the soul. I so wish I had a step-by-step program for you to follow to find your way out. If only it was so simple, right?

Perhaps, instead, I might give you this blessing from the other side where dawn has finally broken for me.

*May the Lord bless you and keep you throughout this dark night.

May you recognize your longing for comfort and peace as his holy longing to ease your suffering.

May you never forget that the *God of all compassion draws *near to the brokenhearted. He is there, very near, especially when your pain has blinded you to His presence and you feel lost.

May you offer yourself compassion in this brutal place holding your own heart tenderly, gently, for this is the Father’s will for you.

May you keep searching for the good, and give thanks. Keep looking for the light, as you have strength. Keep waiting for restoration, your eyes on heaven.

*May your Good Shepherd lay you down in green pastures, and lead you beside still waters. May he bind up your wounds, gently place you upon his shoulders, and carry you toward morning.

*May goodness and mercy chase after you all of the days of your life, and may you dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


*Numbers 6:24, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 23


One Reply to “Happy Birthday to Me (I made it to 54!)”

  1. I am speechless. I am grateful. I will share you truths and prayers with those I know who need to hear them. Thank you. Gods blessings for you and your family.

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