Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Gift In The Wound

A good friend of mine named Sandi used the phrase the gift in the wound to describe the benefit of our friendship recently. I find that phrase so evocative, and so descriptive of much that has happened since my diagnosis, that I felt moved to write about it as soon as she said it. I've been very busy wrapping up one of my final recording projects this past week, so I haven't had a chance to write about it until now. To be honest, I don't really have the time now. I'm just taking it. My therapist urged me not to wait until next week, after I finish my recording project, and I think she was right. The therapist that Sandi helped me to find. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In order for you to fully appreciate what she said, I need to tell you how we became friends not so long ago. I've known her husband Todd for years, as we're both musicians, and both part of the same "music club," as Sandi puts it. She and I had met casually, but didn't really know one another until last December.

My wife and I host an annual summer barbecue at our home for this group, and also a holiday party in December every year. Normally, Sandi doesn't attend these functions because they have a young child. She stays at home with their son while Todd comes to the parties. But this last December, she was able to come, and she and I finally really met. That's where our friendship began.

By the time this party was held, most everyone in our "club" knew about my cancer, including Sandi. At one point in the evening, I went up to her to comment on how all of our pets seemed drawn to her. We ended up talking for about an hour. Sandi is a professional therapist. I don't remember much of our conversation, but afterward, I felt much better. I was very impressed by her, as you can well imagine.

Three days later, Sandi's father passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly. Naturally, my heart went out to her and her family. I reached out to her, and we began messaging back and forth regularly, as a way of supporting one another. As a result, we've become very good friends. We were talking recently about the serendipity of the timing of all of this, and what a benefit our friendship has been to each of us during this difficult time, and she called it the gift in the wound. I haven't been able to get away from that phrase since.

Sandi and I each have our own wound that we're nursing. Mine is cancer. Hers is grief. And our friendship is the gift in that wound. Each of us may wish that our wound had never occurred, but without them, we would not even know each other very well now, much less be friends. We'd be acquaintances, at best.

When Sandi learned of my difficulty getting music work done due to being overwhelmed by my circumstances, she used her connections to help me find my therapist. Therapy has made a huge difference for me. The gift in the wound.

I can think of a number of relationships that this phrase describes perfectly. My wife and I have a long time friend who is recovering from her battle with breast cancer. Because of her cancer and mine, our friendship has been revitalized. The gift in the wound.

We have another friend who is an ovarian cancer survivor. Her husband has been one of my closest friends for more than two decades, but we didn't really know her very well until I was diagnosed. Now, we are the closest of friends, and she and her husband are a huge lifeline for us. The gift in the wound.

Her husband, Paul, my close friend since the early 90's, maybe even the late 80's, (neither of us is sure) have a huge, and very similar gift in the wound story that I recount in my posts Hey Dad and Revelation Song. I won't revisit that story here, but if you're interested, you can read those posts.

I could give many more examples, but for once, I think I'll keep this post relatively short. My point is one that I've made over and over in this blog. The relationships that have begun, or grown, or deepened during the past year are what has kept me going. That's why I say that, even if I could, I wouldn't change my diagnosis. Not if it meant that I had to lose all that I've gained.

You all know how I'm going to conclude this post. I have to say, yet again, that the relationship that is the greatest gift in this wound for me is my relationship with God. All of the love I've received from these friends, and so many more, are, in my view, an extension of his love for me. By loving us, you act like him. And his ultimate act of love is the ultimate gift in the wound. By his wounds, he showed exactly how much he loves us. With every expression of love that we extend to a friend in need, we reflect that love.

Love is the gift in the wound. I don't know what your wound is, but if you look for it, you will find the gift there. We are all wounded from time to time. But all of us also have the capacity to love and be loved. Embrace the love. Embrace the gift in the wound. It will transform you if you do. #waroncancer

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