30 May 2011

The Importance of Community in the Process of Healing

Yesterday was my first Sunday back at church.  Since my mastectomy four weeks ago, I've not been physically able to attend.  I am blessed to have a very wonderful church family.  We truly are like a family; and when I got diagnosed and went public with my cancer, they were there, praying for me.

I was excited and a bit scared about returning.  The scariness lay in the fact that we all missed one another, and that would warrant hugs, and hugs might be a bit painful yet.  So I had it in my head that I was going to approach with the left shoulder leading, hug with the left.  : )  It's always good to be prepared with a strategy.

It was great to be back.  I had a two-fold reason for wanting to go back this Sunday.  1.  I wanted to give thanks to God for the blessings of health; my surgery going well; the road to recovery being "so far so good."  2.  It was my nephew/Godson's last Sunday at church before his move to AZ to pursue his Masters in architecture.  So...I got ready. 

Getting ready I realized, once again, that I am down on myself.  My midsection is still swollen and I feel puffy.  I haven't been able to bend much, and the walking has been good one day, pay back the next.  My weight has been up since the surgery, and though my daughter and sister tell me that it's early yet, that it's only been a short time since the surgery, I want it all to be "normal" again.  I'm impatient with myself.  So there I am, beating myself up....and we go to church.

We pull up, and Sonig is outside.  She saw me get out of the car and came running up with open arms to softly hug me.  I walk into church, and my "me" disappears, and it's just so great to be back.  It's like a family reunion.  As I'm walking to my seat, I see smiles from friends.  It was great to be back in choir.  It was great to smell the familiar sweet incense; to see my family serving on the altar, and to worship with my church community.  When we gave the kiss of peace, it was so neat to hug my sister Susan, my friends Anoush and Lusine and great them with the message that Christ is revealed among us! 

After church, we had a small send off for my nephew who has been our church organist for the past three years.  That was bittersweet.  I'm excited for him because I know he will excel in his studies.  He's brilliant.  And I'm sad because we'll all miss him, his smile, his music, his creativity. 

Hugs were met with my "soft hugs" admonishment, and all went "pretty well."  : )  My homeless outreach partner in crime, Suzie, told me at least three times that she was so happy to see me, and  I just felt really blessed.  One of my friends came up after church and said, "I was praying for you and then I opened my eyes and you were here."  Reggie came up and told me she started crying when she saw me walk in because she had thought of me and prayed to see me.  Koko, my friend from our homeless outreach said, "I was starting my prayers praying for you....and then I was ending my prayers praying for you....and lately have I started and ended my prayers praying for you."

It's hard to convey how much this all means to me.  I know that I am where I am today....a survivor...because of God's grace, because of these very special prayers from my family/friends, and because of the belief (theirs and mine) that these prayers will be answered.  And they were.

To all of you out there who are praying for me...I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I truly believe that I could not have done this without your support, your love, and your prayers.  I love you all!

1 comment:

Fr. Vazken Movsesian said...

Thanks Anush for continually inspiring us with courage and faith.