Thursday, May 22, 2008

How to be community

I sent this out on all the CDSP e-lists, just now. I've been needing desperately to thank my friends, faculty, and others whom I don't even know except that they're praying for me. These words don't feel like enough, but they express something of the gifts these people have given.

If I didn’t bump into you at Baccalaureate and tell you, go here. One test remains between me and "no evidence of metastatic disease." It's a stain on the lymph node that was taken from me last Thursday (along with the tumor itself); I'll know for sure when I see the oncologist Tuesday. All my other tests: CT, PET, and other lymph node screens--have been clean.

I need to thank this community. All of you have held me in prayer, love, and hope. You have carried me through the past month.

Blog-friends have responded there. My friends on campus have held me, gone for walks with me, shared their own survival stories, and listened as my own terror became amazement at surviving this, marked in soul more than body. You’ve asked how I was, and cared about the answer. You’ve told me the things I’ve most needed to hear: that you love me and you’re praying for me. You’ve started conversations with me that began with my body, and wandered through sacred boundaries, strength, and deep self-care.

My faculty have made time for me whenever I felt like talking, and listened with absolute support and encouragement. You’ve held me as I cried, and you’ve laughed with me. You’ve answered frightened e-mails with reminders that I’m held in God, and in your prayers. You’ve excused me from group work I couldn’t focus on, and let me take incompletes as long as I need them—or finish something in the fall when I get back. You’ve let me leave class when I needed to walk, and forgiven an outburst when I hadn’t really slept in a week. You've told me strongly not to push myself; to give myself the time and space I need, and to let the community care for me. You’ve celebrated with me, when the news has been good.

These are only things I’ve experienced directly. I know you’ve done more than I ever will know; I know this web that holds me. I never knew the gift of this community, until I needed it. You've surprised me in the most wonderful ways.

Your prayer, love, and support have made all the difference. Words don’t come close, to thanking you enough.

Still, thank you. By your presence, you’ve helped me heal—and you’ve taught me how to be present with others. You’ve helped me to become more deeply human. These are enormous gifts. All I can do is pay them forward—and I will.



dmdw777 said...

You don`t know me, I found your blog because I was trying to find a mutual friend. Rob Rhudy. Unfortunately, we learned of his passing. My husband and I knew him many years ago. At that time he was in Fort Wayne,In. He gave safe harbor to my husband when he needed a friend the most. Padre was always good to my husband.

The timing of finding this info is confusing for me. I felt impelled to locate him with very little info. at my disposal. All this also led me to your blog, and I didn`t even understand blogs !!

Stumbleing upon your writings, led me to prayer for you and those who care for you. Please be assured of my continud prayers for your recovery. When God leads me toward new places, I just follow and pray for those He leads me to. Stay holy !!

johnieb said...

What goes to you, will come to me, in my need; Jesus is cool that way. The great joy we all know is, coming or going, we are part of the Body of Godde by grace which cannot fail.