Recently we were asked to fill out our annual Fall Board report. One of the questions asked for a story of a “transformed life or community” and honestly, it feels like the life most transformed this year is mine. I wrote this:
This year is hard to summarize because I feel like I am the story. From unexpectedly finding myself in the hospital in November 2022 – when people had to scramble and get my car out of the parking lot, feed the cat, cover the baby group, bring me clothes and a toothbrush… Learning I needed open-heart surgery to replace my aortic valve (!)… Isolating through December when friends carried over every course of Christmas dinner… the friends who rearranged a Christmas trip to the UK so that my “emergency contact” friend could be present with me on surgery day in January. My sisters coming to look after me when I was released. Volunteers who drove me to the hospital each week so I could have blood drawn to determine my warfarin dosage in the first months following surgery… attending medical appointments when I wasn’t allowed to drive… Learning every day that incremental improvements are worth celebrating while waiting for my sternum to knit itself back together!
In March I began (again) working on my Capstone Project for Barclay College (which I had to defer in the Fall) and in May I completed my M.A. in Practical Theology. Also in May, my landlord gave me notice that he was selling my house. So, I investigated different options and finally had to find a new place to live.
While I was trying to work out my living situation, I also went to camp and taught a seminar I wrote for Fruit of the Vine. I preached, and the people at the Naz church have been supportive, helpful, and patient.
At the end of August, I moved house, and I paid for movers and packers to come – but still, friends came to help me fill holes in the walls and climb into the attic to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind. A neighbor came and helped me clear out the garden, and another took some of my potted plants to look after so I could make decisions about those later. I said “goodbye” to my garden, and cul de sac of lovely neighbors. Friends (some I didn’t expect) came to my new place to help me unpack.
I moved into an apartment and quickly discovered that there were many plumbing and heating problems, and then water started leaking through the ceiling from the balcony above me. So, this has been a month of plumbers, electricians, engineers, and a landlord who lives in Switzerland.
I re-started a course in Trauma Informed Care at University College Cork (which I had deferred the year before when I learned I needed heart surgery!) I have updated my Curriculum Vitae and I’ve had job interviews, as I explore bi-vocational ministry.
I started (and completed) six weeks of cardiac rehab at a local hospital. Intense. Hard work. It served the dual purpose of strengthening my heart and preparing me for my NEXT surgery – a right knee replacement on October 20.
So maybe the transformed life this year is mine.
Thank you for your prayers and faithful support! I have been held up this year by your prayers.