Today I’m having a double mastectomy.
I don’t think I’m afraid.
I feel rather like my body is about to experience another deep blow, another intensely personal insult, like the weight of this world is once again bearing down upon me, pummeling me with all of it’s evil. The years of my life that inflicted the most wounds tumble through my mind in pictures with no sequence, without order, scattered, painful images of life’s bruises.
My body bears the memories in physical form. The effects of years of high dose steroids wreaked havoc with my body and it doesn’t forget. The disease itself has left its mark in the loss of so much muscle mass and biopsies and weakness. My right leg carries the scars of the femoral shortening I had so long ago to make my legs even. Then there are scars I can’t share, scars too personal to write on this blog.
I can still feel the pain of all of it. I can feel my muscles ache and swell from the disease. I remember every time I’ve fallen throughout the years because my core muscles and hips and thighs are so weak. I feel the smashing onto the ground and feel the pain of every hit. I feel the childhood embarrassment of not being the same as everyone else. My right femur still aches when it rains or the weather changes, a deep bone pain that I can’t reach and somehow still feels as though my leg is crying out for the pieces the doctors took out, for it’s lost parts. My legs are thick and heavy from the disease. I try hard to walk straight and strong so no one sees the weakness and pain within me.
I’ve struggled with body image for most of my life.
I struggle now as I go under the knife one more time to come out of surgery yet again with scars to add to the scars I still see and feel every single day.
I don’t want this.
Yet I know this.
Jesus bore the scars of this world too. He bore them willingly for us. He’s carried me through every pain and insult. He knows my pain, and He knows yours.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Jesus took upon the pain of this world to bring healing and peace to our troubled souls. He came to make us one with Himself. He bore the pain to forever unite us to the Holy God and present us to Him pure and righteous, unblemished forever.
For now Christ offers us a spiritual peace and oneness with Himself. But there will come a day when our bodies will be weary no more, the scars and pain will be gone forever, and He will bring a physical healing and peace to not only ourselves, but to our world.
Jesus’ pain was not futile. It wasn’t needless or an accident. His pain bore the ultimate fruit: forgiveness and eternal life with God. He came to suffer for us.
So I guess, as I go off to surgery today, as I lay down on that stretcher for the doctor to inflict yet another wound on my weary body, that would be my prayer, that my pain would not be for nothing and that God would use even this to bring hope and healing and love to someone else through my own weakness and pain.
I’ve got to run. Surgery is waiting.