Normalizing Callbacks on Mammograms

My first mammogram was an abnormal experience at 37. It was diagnostic, but instead of having a cyst aspirated, I learned I had cancer. Since I finished treatments, mammograms have been a yearly task to prove that I am still well.

This year was a little different. I went in with my usual good attitude, and I even took a selfie in the waiting room. Each year I use my mammogram to remind others to schedule theirs. During the pandemic especially, many women did not have their annual screening.

It ended up that I had my cardiologist appointment the same afternoon. As I was waiting to be seen, myChart notified me of a new result. Of course I checked it immediately, and waded through all the medical jargon. What I did understand was “need additional imaging evaluation.” [expletive]

For the next twenty minutes while I waited for my cardiologist, I googled every bit of information I could find, and read all I could. My anxiety level began rising. Instead of thinking positive, I was immediately thinking about the last time, and how it would compare to this time. How would I tell my husband? My children? My family and friends? Then I would switch to positive thinking, briefly, and try to convince myself that it was nothing. Callback are normal, and most of them are nothing.

I told my husband and one friend. I could not be fully present that night with my family, as my mind kept playing out possible scenarios. I did not sleep well, and in the wee hours of the morning, I saw the official letter from the radiologist, instructing me to call the next day to schedule an appointment. As soon as everyone was at school, I made the call. It was a Friday, and the next available appointment was Tuesday. I knew the weekend was going to be hard.

Of course I had told several people about having the mammogram. When they asked me about it, I did not want to lie. I tried to be evasive with one friend, but she would not accept that. I did not want to talk about it. Every time I did, it seemed more real.

By Saturday, I was a mess. I could not stop myself from thinking of all the implications if I had cancer. I reached out to my clergy covenant group, and a couple other friends and asked for their prayers. Specifically, I asked them to pray for my mental health as I waited. Patience is not one of my virtues, and my overthinking brain was getting the best of me.

I tried to distract myself and stay busy. When Tuesday finally arrived, I appreciated the support from my friends and kept my phone with me after changing into the gown. After the mammogram, I had to wait for the ultrasound. I decided to write what I was feeling. Here is what I wrote:

Mammo done. Ouch. More painful than usual. She showed me the spot. And she told me not to let my mind go to dark places. I said too late. Sitting here scrolling to distract myself.  Wondering About other woman waiting. 

What does it mean to be well? Or sick?

Sat I let myself go to the dark places. Sun and Mon better. Trying to be distracted. I imagine my future with cancer. It isn’t bad. I am strong enough.  

After reading J’s post-funeral post about missing her husband, I know I’d rather have cancer than lose M. Or have a child sick. Or have him be sick.

I usually tell my fam everything. It feels weird to censor myself. And I didn’t want to tell.

Next was the ultrasound. This time I got to see my Thursday mammo compared to the one that just happened. I could not tell anything, of course. The ultrasound technician finished, and said she was going to return with the radiologist. I moved to my back and looked at the ceiling. There was a mobile, and distracted myself by thinking about how much the girls loved their butterfly mobile when they were babies. The tech returned, alone.

“It looks better,” she said, but I didn’t know what that meant. She explained that the new images provided a clearer view, and that all was well. My next step was an annual mammogram next year.

“That’s good news,” I said, trying to digest it and making sure I understood her correctly. She led me back to the changing room, and I was fighting back tears of relief. I did not want to cry in the changing room. I did not want the other women waiting to hear, and I just wanted to get to the safety of my car. By the time I arrived there, I could not cry anymore. So I began the texting. “All is well.”

Then I felt ashamed. Guilty for asking people to pray for me, for making them worry about me needlessly. I felt bad for sounding an alarm, when nothing was wrong.

However, it was a challenging experience. Many women have had to worry about callbacks and go through the agonizing waiting and wondering. Like me, many women keep it to themselves. Some do not tell anyone and carry the burden alone.

I share my experience for two reasons. First, a call back from a mammogram is normal, and it is usually nothing. However, that does not take away the fear. I want to normalize talking about it. It is ok to worry. You do not have to worry alone. It is ok to share, whether it turns out to be something or not, the fact that you have to endure waiting is hard. Please know that you can always reach out to me. I can hold your truth confidentially. I will walk with you, pray for you, and be a support. What is routine to our medical providers often does not feel routine to the patient. Be gentle with yourself. I’m here for you. And don’t forget to schedule your mammogram and other preventative health screenings.

Suicide Prevention

Someone that I cared about a lot recently died by suicide. He was 16. I could go on and on about how great he was. His smile was contagious, and every time I think of him, I smile.

More importantly, I want you to know this resource:

(en español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Please put this number in your phone. Put it in your kids’ phones and all those you love. In some areas, you can just dial 988. That will be available everywhere across the U.S. later this year.

For those in Minnesota, call **CRISIS (274747) from anywhere in the State of Minnesota to reach the local County crisis team.

In Hennepin County, we have these local options as well:

Adults 18 and over

Call 612-596-1223.

Children 17 and under

Call 612-348-2233.

Again, if you’re local, please put these numbers in your phone and your kids’ phones and give it to all your loved ones too.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared a national emergency in child and adolescent health. The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching. We have been in this new isolated way of life for 22 months. This is the third school year affected by Covid-19. It is ok to be admit that things are hard right now. We wish for normal, and I don’t think any of us thought it would last this long. We need to be gentle with each other, because we all are facing tough times.

Losing a young person is never easy. When someone dies by suicide, we ask what could I have done to help? We can never know what is in someone’s head. We do not know the pain that someone may be experiencing. Often the person feels like the most loving thing s/he can do is leave. A suicidal person may feel like a burden, or that s/he makes everything harder/worse/complicated for family and friends. In the dark moment, choosing to exit may feel like the only choice. I have only gone to that very dark place one time, and I am thankful that it was brief, that I chose to just go to sleep, hoping the next day would be better. It does get better!

The opposite of hope is despair. In seminary, I took a whole class on hope and despair. One of my favorite books is Miriam Greenspan’s Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair. In it she writes:

“Despite its bad reputation and the sense of shame associated with it, despair is a legitimate and eminently human emotion. More than grief and fear, it has a moral and social dimension that calls us to pay attention to and make meaning out of human suffering.”

Hope and despair, faith and doubt, pain and healing are all parts of our spiritual journey. We all may have “dark nights of the soul,” as St. John of the Cross named it. It is human to have a whole range of emotions, some that are uncomfortable. The only antidote is each other. We need one another to love and be loved, to care for one another, and to walk together in the sunshine and the rain. Despair wants us to isolate. When we need each other most, we often shut others out. We think we have to face our pain alone, but that is not true. Stay connected. We were literally made for each other, to see each through.

This youth I lost was someone I had confirmed. I had watched him wrestle with what he believed and what he did not as we talked in class and as he wrote his faith statement. My senior pastor and I had placed our hands on him and prayed. In fact, when my senior pastor and I had lunch a few weeks prior to the student’s death, we talked about him. Though we had both left that congregation, we still talked about this kid. He was that important to us. He was that important to many.

Sadly, we do not always tell someone how important they are. We assume they know. If only he could have heard what everyone said about him at his service! If only we told one another what we truly feel now instead of waiting until after death.

I do not believe that death by suicide is an automatic sentence to hell. To that person, the pain means the hell is here on earth. I believe that God was with my student before, during, and after his death. Even if his pain did not allow him to recognize God, I believe God was there. Because of our free will, we are able to choose not to live, even though that grieves God. I know in my heart that God embraced my student.

Spiritual Practices

Luther Seminary’s online magazine, faith+lead, is doing a series on spiritual practices this month. I wrote about how I adapted my spiritual practices while enduring cancer treatments. You can read it here.

Even without health challenges, trying a new spiritual practice can be fun and helpful. What helps you connect with God? What practices might you want to try this year?


Every year Grandmother bought me an ornament. As a child, the purpose was that when I moved out and had my own tree, I would have enough ornaments. And I did.

In high school, she began buying me the Mary’s Angel series keepsake ornaments from Hallmark. Eventually, she gave me money, and I purchased the ornament myself to add to my collection. The tradition continued for the rest of my family. An ornament each year for the girls, and one for Marty too. Even though I have been the one picking them out for the last several years, I do not know what I want to do about this year.

I bought each girl an ornament, but I wrapped it up from Marty and me. Actually, I bought them two, both from us, but one was with Grandmother’s tradition in mind. I bought my niece an ornament, but so far not yet for my nephew. Should I take on this tradition? Do we leave it as something that Grandmother did? Do I buy myself the Mary’s Angel for this year?

I went to the Hallmark website to see what this year’s ornament looked like. I even put it in the cart. And then the tears came. Part of me wants that tradition to end. If it doesn’t come from Grandmother, then I don’t want it anymore. Part of me wants it to continue, as if she is still gifting them to me. I’m conflicted.

Grief complicates holidays. It is interesting what things activate grief. Is it a picture? A smell? A recipe? An ornament? A song? We do not know what may or may not bother us. What brings a smile, and what causes the tears to flow?

As you celebrate this year, may you be surrounded by warm memories, the kind that make you smile, and maybe a few that make you cry. Remember that you are loved, and accept the hope, peace, joy, and love God offers.


image credit @unicrntchr

I don’t remember his name. His countenance is fuzzy. Yet I can still hear very clearly the sound of his stool wheeling across the floor. I had just asked, “so calcifications mean no cancer?”  I was on a table having a needle biopsy on my right breast, waiting to make sure the sample was enough. He had come to my left side, so he could look me in the eye as he answered. I don’t remember his long explanation. I only remember that he said I would get a call tomorrow confirming that is cancer. I smiled, I guess to show him I was fine. That smile haunts me. It was a mask to hide my fear and anger.

My first mammogram was at 37, because I had found a lump. My gynecologist felt it, and she said it was likely a fluid-filled cyst that needed aspirated. Even knowing that would be happening, I went alone. My colleague told me I should not go alone and offered to go with me. At the time, I thought it was silly for someone else to be there.

It’s funny how memory works. I remember so clearly the changing room, the waiting area, and that there was someone who looked even younger than me. I don’t remember what my technician looked like, and very little about that first mammogram. I could see the pictures, and even though my technician was very professional, I could sense something was wrong. When she led me to a different waiting room, alone, my suspicion only grew. My phone was in the locker, and I regretted that decision. I prayed for strength to deal with whatever was coming next. I can’t remember learning that I was going to have a biopsy, or much about it. From the time the doctor spoke, until I was in the lobby calling my husband, is lost in the depths of my brain, or discarded. I misunderstood him, and I thought he was on another call and could not talk. It is probably just as well that I did not tell him over the phone.

I remember the drive home so clearly. There was a lot of traffic. My mind was reeling, and I did not feel like I was really in my body. I held the steering wheel tightly, to ground myself and pay attention to traffic. For some reason, one particular intersection is cemented in my memory, watching cars merge and inching forward. I thought how it was just a normal Thursday to all these other drivers, but nothing about that day was normal for me.

When I got home, I had to pretend all was fine. Our babysitter was concerned about me, and I just told her I was a little sore. That was true. I certainly was not ready to tell my news.

I don’t actually remember telling my husband.  Was it when he got home? After we put the girls to bed? He doesn’t remember either. You would think such a life-changing moment would be memorable.

The next day I was in the parking lot at the Mall of America, taking my girls to a birthday party at the aquarium, when I got the call. It was a nurse, giving me next steps, and it was Friday in the late afternoon. I had already anxiously called, worried that I wasn’t going to find out, and they assured me someone would call. My girls were in their carseats, annoyed that we were not going inside. I called my husband and said, “It is.”  Then we went to the party, and I remember it so clearly. I wanted to tell my friend, but I also didn’t want to ruin her son’s party. 

I don’t remember telling my parents, or other family. I know I made the calls from my bed, and there were lots of tears. We didn’t tell the girls for weeks. No reason to worry them until we had a plan and could explain it better. We also could not tell them until we were ready to tell the congregation. Thankfully, I was not present for that announcement.   

All of October with all the pink ribbons is always hard for me. I remember October 2015 and the agony of knowing I had a lump and learning of others being diagnosed.  I want to wear a pink ribbon, to remind people to do self-exams, regular mammograms, and support those who are enduring treatments. But I have always hated pink, and Pinktober annoys me.

This year I am extra angry. Not only did breast cancer change my life, but it devastated my dear friend’s family. Her mom bravely endured three bouts of breast cancer before it finally took her this spring.

Another cancer-versary when I feel like I *should* be grateful to be alive (I am!), but I am just angry. Six years have blurred many of my memories, and some are so vivid. Grief is not linear, and it is fine for me to be in the anger stage while everyone acts like wearing pink and buying pink products will stop breast cancer.

Whether you are male or female, do self-exams.


This challenge was really good for me. I used to love writing fiction, but I had not made time for it in many years. I remember why I like it, and I enjoyed the variety of stories the prompts helped me create. Using my imagination felt good. Some friends suggested creating a Shutterfly book. Another said to pick one or two and turn them into a (longer) story or novel. I’m not sure yet, but I am grateful for these stories.

16 – Rose
“Will you accept this rose?” Andy asks her, knowing her obsession with the Bachelor franchise. She smiles, and kisses him as she takes the rose.
“Ouch!” The thorn digging in her thumb interrupts. It reflects the pit in her stomach. Andy is a good time, but he’s not The One.
16- Garden
Bending over, she carefully pulls the pod off the plant. The green of the pod is lighter than the stem or leaf, and she runs her finger along t the seam, feeling the peas inside. She tosses it in the bucket.  Soon she will daydream, transporting herself out of the garden.

The small flock of geese gracefully arch as they turn to land on the pond. They swim together, forming another “V” formation.  Gliding across,  they barely make any ripples.  When they reach the shaded shore, the leader speaks. “We will stay here tonight.   We’re behind. Be ready at first light.”

The setting sun produced long shadows. It made it easier for him to stay hidden.  The side door of the house he was watching opened. There was Mr. Klein, kissing his mistress goodbye.  Snapping quickly, the private investigator captured the moment. His boredom hiding in the woods had been worth it.

19 -Tendril
Louise stares at her reflection. Perfect tendrils frame her pale face,  her green-eyed sparkle, and her rosy lips pout. Disgust grows as her eyes follow her silhouette.   The dress is gorgeous.  Too bad her body is not.  She should not have eaten yesterday or today.  One more purge?

20– Antique
“Grandma said not to touch it! It’s an antique.”
Billy ignores Lily, as usual, and lifts the small bowl.  Everything blurs, turning cold, as he shrinks and falls through a black hole in the bowl.
“Billy! Let go!” Lily’s heart pounds as she too lifts the bowl.

21- Engulf
Fear engulfs me and I freeze. The snake flicks its tongue. Does it sense me? I can’t tell what kind it is. Grandpa will be mad if I kill a snake that isn’t poisonous. 
“Snakes eat rats,  Lulu,  not people. You just leave them alone.”  I turn and run away.

22 Friend & 23- Willow
“Meet under the willow at 4!” Cara calls over her shoulder to her best friend.  Running the whole way, Cara is out of breath when she bursts into the kitchen. Her parents are sitting at the table, and her mom is crying. “wh-what’s wrong?”she stammers.
“Come sit down, dear.”

24 – Dissolve
“It’s  Snickers.  She got run over,” dad shares quietly. Cara dissolves into a puddle, her entire body shaking with her sobs. Mom moves to hold her, but Cara shakes her off and runs back outside. She doesn’t stop until she hides herself under the willow. It’s safe to cry here.

25- Fury
The office walls are this.  She hears her boss lying again.  His voice is louder when he is uncomfortable, which he must be now as he tries to explain away his latest mistake to his supervisor.  The fury rises until she can taste it.  Time to get out of here.    

26 – Bury
Lisa pulls into her garage, but stays in the car.  She swallows her feelings, burying them deep in her gut.  Her family deserves better than the aftermath of work emotions.    She opens the vanity mirror, and realizes she needs to erase the evidence of her tears.  She forces a smile. 

27 – Forgotten
The leaves swirl up into a spiral as they are blown across the sidewalk.Katie runs after them giggling.  Her toddler squeals of delight contrast her mother’s mood.  There must have been an emergency; he wouldn’t have forgotten again,  she had told Katie.  Forcing a smile,  she takes Katie’s hand.

28 -Instrument
“Don’t forget your violin! You have your lesson today,” Mom reminds Jack. He returns to his room to get his Instrument,  wishing he had practiced at least once.  Mr. Snyder will lecture him again. Jack likes playing,  but practicing never sounds fun. If only his parents would let him quit.

29 – Storm
Betsy storms out of the room and slams her bedroom door. She jumps into her bed and screams into her pillow.  They are so unfair!  Why do they always say no? Betsy sobs, holding her stuffed elephant.  Mom enters quietly,  and wraps Betsy in her arms. “I’m sorry you’re upset.”

30- Begin
“You may begin,” the Proctor says.  Sam rips open the booklet and reads the first question.  His stomach tightens as he thinks. His brain feels cloudy, and sweat beads on his upper lip. He takes a deep breath, and fills in the bubble. These next two hours will be rough.

31 – Hallows
They enter the Gothic building and walk the hallowed halls.
“I can’t believe we’re here! I have goosebumps!” Jenna exclaims.
“I know. Someone pinch me,” Rachel agrees.
As they walk along the exterior,  they marvel at whose tombs they encounter.  When they find hers, they hold hands, eyes closed.

Stolen October

Grief is complicated and consuming. One of my dearest friends and favorite writers shares her truth.

running the dream living with boys

I used to love October, maybe someday we can be friends again. But this year, October is my enemy. A thief mocking me into the holiday season. October is breast cancer awareness month. Oh my how I am deeply aware. Breast cancer stole my mother. And before it took her for good, the disease wreaked havoc on her body, mind and spirit—not once, not twice but three times. Punches and blows until finally metastatic, triple negative—all worst case scenarios. Time is up. When people you haven’t seen in awhile ask, “How’s it going, how’s the family?” I lie. I lie because they don’t really want to know, even the most well meaning, sweet folks don’t really want to know. Because honestly it’s awful. During low points of a loved one’s disease or prognosis, you do think about it—how awful it could be but nothing comes close to the reality until…

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Writetober Challenge, Part I

I have been wanting to get back into fiction writing, so I have been trying #50wordfiction challenge with prompts from @HannahRobinsonAuthor.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you have already read most of these. The challenge has been so much fun! Every day I look forward to writing, and I have to do a lot of math and editing to make it be exactly fifty words. To post on Instagram, I have been using Canva to create the posts. I have enjoyed that creative outlet as well. Microfiction is not what I want to write forever, but I do hope I finish the challenge. Below are the first 16 stories.

1 – Long

“It has been a long journey,” she says, smiling at her oncologist.

“Indeed!  Congratulations!  I would still like to see you annually.”

“Of course.  I would probably worry otherwise.”

“You are doing self-exams, right?”


“Then you would be as likely to find anything as I would. Stay vigilant.”

2 – Foil

The pie was too pretty to cover with foil.  It would diminish the presentation.  The tiny leaves on top turned out perfectly; they had not burned at all. First attempt at decorating the pie crust was a success.  It smelled divine too.  She grabbed her phone and snapped a picture.

3 – Chime

The church bells chime: 5:00.  She could leave now, but she felt chained to her desk.  Another day, little progress, despite her efforts.  This was her life; same routine every day.  Oatmeal for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, starting at spreadsheets all day, every day. 

4 – Secret

The lump grew in secret.  Aware of feeling more tired than usual, she dismisses it as overworking.  Her body, on high alert, is already fighting. If you ask her, she will tell you that she listens to her body. Yet the cells continue to multiply until she feels the mass.   

5- Sky

“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” A storm was coming.  Mitch had to tell Leah that he was having an affair. She would kick him out, at least for the night.  He could not continue living the lie. 

Mitch set down his cup of coffee.  “We need to talk.”    

6- Ritual

Take meds, brush teeth, wash face, apply night cream: not a taxing nighttime ritual, yet Amanda rarely completed all the steps.  By 8:00, she was so tired.  Instead of going to bed, she usually poured another glass of wine.  When would she love herself enough to choose what she really needed?

7- Adorn

Levi studies the ugly floral painting that adorns his hospital room.  Bored with it, he tries to turn on his side, but struggles.   He hates feeling weak.  

“Mr. Jones, it is time for your pain medications.” 

“Maybe I can finally sleep,” Levi thinks.   He sips water to wash them down.  


“Is this heaven?”

“No, it is Iowa.”   All the fields are lush and green.  The green stalks stand tall despite being weighed down with full ears.  The yellow tassels reach towards the sky. I want to walk into the corn and disappear into the rows.  I feel small but safe.

9 -Safe

“Sarah,” the nurse in pink scrubs calls.  Putting her phone in her purse, Sarah follows the nurse into the changing area.  Every year she dutifully gets her mammogram, hoping she is still safe from the disease that took her mother. She stares at herself in the mirror as she changes.

10- Silver

“Thirty pieces of silver, as promised.  Never let me see the likes of you again, boy.” The tall figure limps away.  The mercenary knows better than to wait around, or count the contents of the small bag. Heading west, away from sunrise, he is unsure where he will stop.   

11 – Serpentine

“You need a new Serpentine belt,” the mechanic tells Jill.

“How much?’” she tries to ask nonchalantly.

“Parts and labor will run about $240. We can have it done by this afternoon. “

“And if I wait?” Jill stalls. Rent will be late again, and cereal will be every dinner.


“I painted myself,” she squeals with delight as she shows her picture to Daddy. 

“Good job, peanut!” he gives her a kiss on the top of her head.  Watching the joy and Kodak moment, Tara thinks maybe the mess was worth it.   She would try to remember that next time.


“This is a thin place, where the veil between heaven and earth is removed.  Keep your mind and heart open; you may have a spiritual experience.”  The innkeeper winks as she closes the door behind her. 

“Do you believe in that?” Joe asks.

“Not really.”  Molly hopes it is true.

14- Breath

Her breath makes a white cloud.  She pulls on her hood, and puts her hands in her pockets.  The sun casts an orange glow as it stretches across the sky.  Leaves crunch under her feet as she enters the garden.

15- Rose

“Will you accept this rose?” Andy asks her, knowing her obsession with the Bachelor franchise.  She smiles, and kisses him as she takes the rose.

“Ouch!” The thorn digging in her thumb interrupts. It reflects the pit in her stomach.

Andy is a good time, but he’s not The One.

16- Garden

Even though it is only 8:00 am, it is already hot.  Valerie wipes her forehead with the back of her hand before stooping down to resume picking beans.  Her basket is full, and her back aches.  Maybe next year she should make her garden smaller. She says that every year.

Psalm 130

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord hear my voice!  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.” Verses 1-2a, 5-6.

I felt drawn to this Psalm this morning.  There is SO much going on in the world.  Covid continues, wildfires, so much bad climate news, Afghanistan, earthquake in Haiti, flooding in TN, and the list goes on and on.  Then there are the personal stories of new cancer diagnoses, losing loved ones, and other heartbreaks my friends and family are facing.  Sometimes it all feels like a lot.

A few years ago I was able to take the Enneagram and participate in a training.  I learned that I am a 4w5, the Individualist + Investigator, sometimes referred to as “the free spirit.”  Part of the strength of being a 4 is being comfortable with the entire spectrum of emotions.  If you need someone to sit with you in your pain, I am your girl.  However, a 4’s sensitivty can also be overwhelming, and it is easy to get lost within our own self and be self-absorbed.   

It is easy for me to get overwhelmed with my feelings.  I rarely watch the news except for the weather.  I read it on my phone, and that seems more palatable than seeing images.  Still, I easily let myself sink into despair. 

The opposite of despair is not happiness, but hope.  Sometimes I am afraid to hope.  I don’t trust it.  However, I trust God, and my hope is in the Lord.  It is not a Pollyanna optimism.  It is not a blind trust that means I can go back to being self-absorbed and enjoying all my privileges.  It is a hope that stems from my belief that humans were created in God’s image and good.  That we will unite to do the right thing.  That one small step of action on my part is something I can do to be proactive and is worth the time and effort. 

However, Covid has also shown me “total depravity” side of the human spirit.  We can be selfish, mean, and uncaring.  We do not love our neighbor the way God intended.  We care more about our own personal comfort than others.  We do not want to give up one bit of our own comfort or pleasure.  We are so afraid of losing something, that we are rigid and lack compassion for other’s needs or strife.  If we are ok with how things are, or we have suffered and come out on top, we expect others will be able to do the same.  We lack imagination to put ourselves in others’ places.  Or worse, we do not want to imagine, and expect that they have the same advantages and opportunities that we have. 

I hope in the Lord.  But I am not making any vacation plans, because I don’t want to be sad again when we cancel them.  I hope in the Lord, but I also try to read perspectives different from my own.  (Normally, I would advise meeting others, but I am extra cautious about that in light of Covid).  I hope in the Lord, and I am trying to stop using single-use plastics.  It is harder than I thought it would be.  I hope in the Lord, and  I am hoping to learn more about the Afghans who will be coming to Minnesota and ways I can help.  I hope in the Lord, and I wear my mask. 

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

Rest a While

I am weary. Are you?

Jesus calls all of us who are weary.  Jesus promises us rest.  Jesus provides us a safe place where we can share all of the burdens that are on our hearts.  Jesus invites us to take a break and renew our strength and our spirits so that we can get back to work. 

I can’t help but wonder if God has used and is using this time of pandemic to help us change.  We have opportunity to look at the way things were pre-pandemic, and decide what we miss and what we don’t miss.  WE have the opportunity to change.  As we begin to return to some more “normal” ways of life, we can ask ourselves:  What do you want to leave behind from the pre-pandemic world?  What have you learned this last year and a bit that you want to keep doing or carry forward?   Then looking bigger than ourselves, what do we want for our community?  What work do we need to do so that our community is a safe place for everyone?  What justice work do we need to do on behalf of our siblings? What work do we need to do to make God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven? 

One of my favorite authors and speakers is Brene Brown, and she says, “it takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”

Rest is necessary for action. We need to strengthen our bodies, minds, and spirits.  We need to rest in Christ. 

When we encounter Jesus and the disciples in Mark 6:30-34, the disciples have returned from their journeys.  Jesus had sent them out two by two. They preached.  They cast out demons.  They anointed with oil.  Now they have re-gathered as a group, and imagine the stories they have to tell! Imagine how proud they must be of all they had accomplished!  I can just hear them planning out how they would tell Jesus and the others what happened, and who would get to tell which part of the story. I can just imagine how excited they were as they returned!

Jesus’s response to them is, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.”  Though the disciples were on a “high” from telling their stories, you know that fatigue of the trip is going to follow soon.  That initial burst of energy will fade as weary bones, tired feet, and hungry bellies takeover.  Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.  Take a load off.  Let’s continue to telling stories and celebrating after you have had a rest, a meal, and some sleep.

Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.  Why don’t we rest?  Why do we push ourselves to keep doing more and more? Have you ever been around a tired toddler?  They will insist that they are not tired, even through big yawns.  Even when their eyes are barely open, they still will fight sleep. They are so afraid that they will miss something.  Grown-ups are not all that different.  We are so tired, but we will not stop and rest.  We are so afraid that we will miss something. 

Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile  Come lie down in green pastures.  Come beside still waters.   Our souls can be restored when we rest in Jesus. Even if we stop long enough to relax, we still have to slow down our minds and let go of our troubles. Jesus is ready to take on all the burdens we are carrying.  We feel pressed upon by the needs around us.  For some, it is being a caregiver.  For others, it is living with pain or illness.  For some, it is financial worries.  For others, it is turmoil in relationships.  Jesus is ready for us to lay down all those heavy burdens.  To stop and rest. 

Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile…isn’t that why we have vacations?  When was the last time you were able to get away?  When will you be able to have some time apart?

Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile. If you are weary from living through the pandemic, Jesus says rest a while.  If you are weary from what you see on the news, Jesus says rest a while.  If you are weary from physical, emotional, or mental health issues, Jesus says rest a while.  Jesus invites us to rest.  To take a deep breath and recollect ourselves.  Our souls need rest, and Jesus offers us that rest.  We just have to allow ourselves time with him.  Maybe you spend time with God in prayer.  Maybe it is reading Scripture.  Maybe it is journaling.  Maybe it is going for a walk.  Maybe it is a nap.  Give yourself permission to let your soul rest. 

I don’t know what God has in store for you next.  In this story, Jesus is about to feed the 5000.  He and the disciples need to rest so they are ready to face the crowd.  Take the time to rest, don’t judge or shame yourself for resting.  We cannot be successful if we only do and never just be. Accept Jesus’s invitation to rest a while.


Avisha Rasminda

Hi, I'm Avisha Rasminda Twenty-Two years old, Introduce Myself As A Author , Painter , A Poet.

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