Joining the Suffering of the Saints

I cannot forget her face. It was the four of us, all dressed in magenta gowns, playing the Waiting Game — you know, that endless motion of looking at the clock — in the doctors office. Then a woman interrupted the silence to say something silly to another woman. Initially, I was irked. Although I had a Kindle in hand, I was still playing the clock. Two hours down by that point.

It wasn’t until I looked over and saw the woman’s face as she talked that I truly understood what was happening. She wore a smile, but clung to a tissue in hand. She was terrified. My coldness warmed and I felt a tenderness toward her.

See, we were all in the waiting room for the same reason. Our magenta gowns covered one of the more “sacred” parts of our bodies: our boobs. All of us — as we came to find out — already had our bodies adjusted to stand or lean here and there and boobies squeezed by a mammogram machine. Now, we all awaited an ultrasound to further reveal what was going on.

For me? A detectable lump.

It was in seeing her face, with tears teetering on the edges, that I recognized how I refused to acknowledge my own emotions. I refused to let myself sit in the worry leading up to this appointment, and in doing so, I allowed myself to reject any sign of emotion. So, when I heard this woman’s cheery voice, of course it was anger that popped up first. Anger, for the most part, is an unresolved emotion. It pretends to be the straight-shooter in life, but it’s really the drunk cousin at your wedding acting all willy nilly.

In truth, it wasn’t until the appointment was long over and the test results arrived in my inbox (though, I already knew the test results before leaving the appointment) that I felt a dread come over me. I immediately reached out to a core group of people in my life to ask for prayer. I knew they would show up, and they did. And now, I am digging to figure out why I hide hard things.

I know on some level I can be a cerebral person, especially when it comes to myself. I want to talk it out, dissect the issue, analyze it, and then assign a meaning. But when it comes time to seek prayer for the personal, I go into myself. Not unlike a turtle watching a foot walk toward it or a car aiming its wheel directly at it. This is an issue I want to reconcile within myself.

Because when you find out the test results are inconclusive and a biopsy is needed, you get a little scared.

As hard as it was — nothing like admitting the hard truth to yourself — I’m glad I let myself be seen. Every part of this is a waiting game. However, I’ve entered into what I keep being reminded of by the goodness of the Spirit: the suffering of the Saints. It’s in this wee reminder that I remember suffering is universal and not lonely. I have joined a chorus of others waiting for results, and maybe I’ll join the chorus of those with a diagnosis. I don’t know. But my willingness to sit in the I Don’t Know with prayers on my behalf and an unbreakable Unity is what I’ve needed all along. 

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