Circle of Friends
I attended a friend’s fiftieth birthday party a few months ago and watched as the birthday girl entered a room filled with the people she loved best. Long after the initial surprise had worn off, we chatted about the diverse array of people in attendance, neighbors, work colleagues, parents of her children’s friends, fellow Navy families, folks from her church, and her closest friends. These were people she saw all the time, but she had never seen them all in the same place at the same time before. Her circles had collided, and it brought her great joy.
It got me thinking about a time not so long ago when my own circles collided. Those of you who know me know that two years ago I found myself facing a dire prognosis after being diagnosed with stage IV endometrial cancer. It was a frightening time where I found myself feeling very alone and vulnerable, and had it not been for my circles of friends, many of them from this church, I don’t know that I would have made it. But God was at work, even before I knew what was happening to me. As I was transferred from the ER at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital to Virginia Beach General, I was met by church friends who sat with me and offered support to my family while I underwent procedures. As I was moved to the Oncology unit, I was met by the charge nurse, my kids’ former youth counselor and my dear friend and Emmaus sponsor, who made sure I had the best nursing care available. Awaiting surgery the next morning, a church staff member came to sit with me and was surprised to see that the anesthesiologist was also a member of Virginia Beach United Methodist. Friends and family filled my hospital room, many them the faces I saw at Virginia Beach United Methodist on Sunday mornings and throughout the year. And so it continued over days and months with phone calls, visits, meals, offers for rides, gift cards, and text messages of support. My family and I were overwhelmed at the sheer army of people, my colleagues at work, members of my life group, orchestra members, fellow mission volunteers, neighbors, family, folks I had served on church committees with, and friends I had met through Bible study, who were there for us through the initial hospitalization and the ensuing year of biopsies, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. In facing this terrifying medical crisis, my circles collided in an explosion of love and support that allowed my family and me to feel that peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
The crisis is over and I am a year into remission, but all I have to do is ask prior to a routine scan or exam, and my circles collide again to remind me that I am and have been covered in prayer every step of the way. My cup runneth over.