After some pondering, I have decided to call together a group of seven friends who I trust immensely to help me discern what I need to focus on over the next several months. The group consists of Christians whose opinions I treasure and who have proven themselves to be a blessing to me on this crazy adventure that unfolds before us. Some are schooled in Ignatian spirituality; others are not. We met last night for the first time, getting to know each other while breaking bread and sharing hearts. We have yet to completely figure out what a process looks like but the initial meeting was still valuable to me.
We used Ignatian rounds for a loose framework. Each person began by informing the group how they were as they came (curious, tired, distracted, etc) and then explained how they knew me. I then added why I had asked them to be part of this circle. So that we all were on the same page as far as the cancer history and prognosis was concerned, I gave a detailed summary of the situation thus far. We are gathered because I am single and need support along the way. My parents are elderly; my one sibling is caring primarily for them; and the other sibling lives two provinces away. I turned to a community of loved ones to help me and by default, my family, with decisions that must be made and tasks that must be completed in a timely fashion. They will help keep me accountable, assist with tapping into friends who stand on the sidelines longing to help, and discern with me what it is I need. They will also listen to me with great compassion and love, while gently calling me on my stuff.
I look forward to these meetings, learning how to benefit from them, and the rich, anticipated outcome that will help me transition to my final days with less stress and worry. As I also said last night, I do not want this to be heavy work so I was pleased that there was sufficient laughter around the table. I love that these people will get to know each other too as they are dear to me and this will provide them with support too. One friend wisely noted that. Busted, I thought, with a smile. Some have already gotten to know each other through hospital visits and other events but this will strengthen relationships.
Good questions were asked which I appreciated. Everyone was honest and real which is another underlying reason that these seven were chosen besides very specific skill sets that are needed. People listened carefully and deeply as was conveyed by the questions that were asked and the comments that were made. Someone sagely noted a go-to fault of mine and I smiled that I had been caught so early on. I guess I am pretty transparent. However, clearly, Wisdom abides in the group. I am excited to see where this will go. I already am so very grateful for what transpired last night.
To be listened to and loved are great gifts. In two days I begin my third year since this life-changing surgery. This group seems like a wonderful way to celebrate 24 months of life with my new liver. These people are generous and courageous. I know that the task that I have asked them to do is not for the fainthearted. The task of listening and loving is mutual around this circle. I will be returning it as much as it is given to me. This will be a new adventure for most of us and I pray God’s blessing on it.
Who do you trust with your story?
Who have you listened to with compassion and love?
Great Physician, you long for wholeness for each one of us and desire to meet our needs. I thank you for these friends who will help me to transition to Life and live well in the meantime. I ask a special blessing of grace and courage for each one of them. Bind us together in love and compassion, Creator. Give each one of us what we need for this experience. Amen.