"For me a brain tumor and its treatments are not a pause in the adventure of life, but instead a part of the adventure of life." Mary has survived big hair, a brain tumor, coming out, distressed bowel syndrome, hallucinations, radiation, and a car wreck. Here Mary takes us from public transportation horrors to the joys of sharing life with you. Though you probably won't want to have a brain tumor; you will wish that you could see the world through Mary's eyes. Sister Jen
Happy Birthday, Sister Jen!
Monday, December 17, 2012
The Stable as a Cave
My friend Kathy came to church on Sunday. It was great to
see her and to hear her. (She has an amazing soprano voice, and she sat between
us, so we got to hear her.)
Kathy belongs to our church, but she’s been going through
breast cancer treatment since this fall, so she's only been able to attend
once or twice.
I know she feels crummy a lot, but she looks beautiful as
her now whitish hair is beginning to grow back in. It was such a gift to see
When the infant twins were up front for the Children’s
sermon, Kathy said, “I can’t believe how big the twins are! They’re like little
people now! I feel like I’ve been living in a cave.”
Sunday was supposed to be a joyful day: it was the third
Sunday of advent, so we were to light the candle of joy, and our gifted choir
was singing its Christmas music.
Friday’s deaths in Newtown, Connecticut, however, sobered
our joy. How can a person kill so many small ones and teachers, his mother and himself? How can our
country not care for people with mental illness? How can our country continue
to allow automatic weapons in our homes?
As my 92 year-old neighbor Annabella mourned: “the darlings…”
The NC Baptist church where I grew up postponed the candle
of joy and lit instead the candle of love. I thought we might do something
similar at our Seattle church, but we didn’t.
Our minister, Karla, delivered just the right sermon. She
began the sermon with words of mourning for the deaths, giving language to our
sadness. Our friend Lori, who has cerebral palsy and cannot talk, wailed a
painful cry that reverberated with our sadness.
Then Karla reminded us that Jesus was born into a violent
world, and that he was born in a messy stable. “God is in this mess,” she said
to us, “in this chaos, in this stable that is a cave.”
Karla’s description of the stable as a cave echoed Kathy’s earlier
comment and surprised me. There’s no way that Karla heard Kathy, but the echo
made the message that much more powerful for me.
God is with us. We are not alone. God is in the darkness.
Earlier this month, before
this massacre, Ann and I celebrated the light in the darkness with our annual
solstice party, and we will celebrate the light again with other friends on the
actual solstice, the darkest day of the year.
Saturday night, we celebrated the miracle of Chanukah with
other friends, and delighted in their telling of the story, lighting the many Menorah
, and singing.
Soon, there will be a time for action and for change, but now,
as I seek solace in the darkness, this is a time for lighting a candle and
saying a prayer: God be with us.