Your love is always before my eyes.
Psalm 26:3, Book of Common Prayer
I remember coming to in the recovery room, scared to reach under the thin blanket to see if I had an incision in my abdomen. If the mass was cancer, during surgery to remove it, my doctor would have put in a port for intraperitoneal chemo. I could not check; I was too afraid.
As I gained consciousness, I was aware of a tall, dark-haired man standing to the left of the bed. His kind voice spoke four words: “Good news, no cancer.” Surely that was God’s love before my very eyes! I would not have to endure the indignities of cancer treatment. I could recover from surgery and go home, live my life. Even after he asked permission to send slides of my cells to a specialist at Harvard, I had a 90 percent chance of being cancer-free, because, as he told me, “Our guys in pathology are good. Ninety percent of the time, Harvard agrees with them.”
Over the next few weeks, instances that were obvious signs of God’s love were visible:
• the friend who sat all night in a recliner the night after my surgery, alert to my smallest movement
• others who visited, sent or brought gifts or food after I returned home, as well as those who helped me run errands or walk in the woods
• the amazing nurses and personal assistants who made a week in the hospital bearable, and the nurses who later made chemo bearable as well
• friends who read to me, in the hospital and after I went home
• the editor at my freelance job, who told me not to worry, the project was still mine
• my priest, who brought communion to the house, despite her cat allergies
At my post-surgery check-up, my gynecologic oncologist sat down and said, “It’s as we feared—it’s cancer.” So certain had I been in my escape that I’d refused an offer to join me in the examining room from the friend who had driven me to the appointment. Just me and my notebook of questions, most of which, as my doctor said, became largely irrelevant.
The time he took with me that day, and all the other days, was God’s love before my eyes, disguised in a long white lab coat. “It’s all good,” another survivor says. Some days, frankly, I have trouble with that idea. But I’m learning to see that it’s all God’s love, right there before my very eyes, if only I will look.