There are times that leave us humbled, quiet, and deeply touched with a kind of knowing that there’s just no way we could ever expand wide enough, feel deeply enough, contain fully enough…all the Grace that is us. This is one of those times. I offer the following with a prayer that, within its telling, there’ll be something that will touch each of you in a way that will best serve your journey.
As this is the Next Chapter, for those of you who may not know the original story, I tell it in my book, An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, The True Devotee.
What follows is a simple accounting of what happened. Once in it, I started recording in my spiritual diary as I sensed I was in a story of Grace unfolding…
On November 21st, half an hour before the start of the Class of 2011 seminary day, I felt a strange sensation and realized I was bleeding. Being 5+ years post menopausal, I instinctively knew this wasn’t good. After making a quick run to the Mobile Station for emergency protection, I walked back into my studio and looked up at the tapestry hanging on the wall of my guru Mother Teresa. I remember how she carried on, fully committed to her mission, regardless of what was happening within her. I would do the same – this day and throughout the weeks to follow.
That night my son Mitch had come to visit so I knew it wasn’t the best time to tell my husband Doug. This was fortuitous as I’d come to know that, for this journey, it was important I go alone – at least for the time being. That night, as I lay in bed, I rested my hands gently on my belly as I felt the full weight of the morning’s discovery come over me. All I could do was release, release, as every cell in my body surrendered into my soft bed. I knew fully this wasn’t something I was going to figure out. My only prayer was simply to rest in the sweet care of my God – the only place I knew was always totally and completely there even when all else felt so challenging and uncertain. I knew this sweet womb. I’d fallen asleep here before and would, likely, again. All I ached for in that moment was to be cradled in the full Love of my God. I was safe there. Home there. It was all that mattered to me.
The next day I went out for some errands. When I got home, Mitch and Doug told me there was a message on the phone from Dick, the barber. Except to wave through the barbershop window, I hadn’t seen Dick in about a year and a half. Doug had gotten his hair cut once a month so we’d stayed connected that way. He’d never called me. In the message, he said he and his wife had just returned from Chimayo and that he’d brought me something. He asked if I could stop into the barbershop sometime to pick it up. Then he said, “I love you. God bless you.” Although we had been certainly deeply connected through the original rosary experience, he had never spoken to me like that. I knew I’d just received a message from God.
It was Thanksgiving week so I knew Dick would be closed and wouldn’t open until the following Tuesday as he’d always been closed on Mondays. That same Tuesday I was given an appointment with my doctor who told me I needed to see a gynecologist to rule out uterine cancer. After the visit, I went by to see Dick. He was very busy with lots of folks waiting for haircuts. But, he was clearly glad to see me and handed me a Mother Teresa Rosary with hearts on it he’d brought back from Chimayo. I hugged him fiercely as he, jokingly, told me to take off. But, when he turned his back to me I heard clearly from his subtle body, “Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We put you in.” (Chimayo is known as a place of great healing. There’re crutches on the walls, notes, etc.) I know, in the same moment, that I’m in trouble and, also, that I’m going to be ok. I’ve just received another message. And, of course, Dick could have had no way of knowing, consciously, what was going on with me.
In my daily healing practice, I started holding the new Mother Teresa Rosary against my belly for the entire practice. Each night I’d fall asleep and each morning I’d awake chanting with the rosary on my belly. I also started playing Amazing Grace constantly because I knew that some Grace was surely being played out in my life. Every day I felt more and more strong, tender, and joy-filled as layers of new awareness flooded my days.
A few days later, I had an ultrasound. I was told by the nurse practitioner that I had a thickening of the uterine wall and a polyp. They didn’t appear concerned about the polyp but said I need to return as soon as possible to see the doctor to have a biopsy taken from the uterine wall. An appointment was made for the next week.
Over the days that followed, as I continued on with my healing practice, I began to know, ever more deeply, what was truly most important to me and a kind of sweet acceptance came. I knew I was being blessed beyond measure. I heard myself talking to my God as I fell asleep each night. “I don’t think it’s my time to go. I don’t want to go. There’s so much more I want to do. I want to see my grandson grow up. But, if it’s my time, I’m okay with that. I’m okay because I love you most. There’s nothing I want more than to belong to you.” It would be much later before I would come to know that this was the great blessing and gift of this experience.
When I went in for the biopsy, I felt completely at peace. After the nurses prep me, the doctor came in looking very serious and focused. Then, as she looked more closely at the screen hovering above my head, I saw her whole expression change. She looked clearly relieved and said, “Ok, this is good. I’m happy and happy for you. When I looked at your ultrasound last week I was concerned and coming in here thought ‘this is not going to be good.’ But, now, your uterine wall looks thin and perfectly healthy. We should get the polyp out and we’ll send it for a biopsy but it doesn’t look like anything to be concerned about.”
She then asked if I’d like to have it taken out before or after Christmas. Remembering that my husband was retiring and I was uncertain as to how our medical insurance would work, I answered before. She hesitated saying she wasn’t sure they could get me in but they’d try. I was sent down to the scheduling nurse who said she couldn’t believe it but an opening had just appeared for the following Monday morning, December 20th. I smiled as the number twenty had always held particular importance for me. Two days after the surgery I received a call that all was normal.
“We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful.” Mother Teresa