Healing Grace

The Healing Grace of God knows no bounds.

Thank you for checking in on me as I take this journey of healing grace. I will periodically post on this page meditations, reflections and art that emerge from this time. I am grateful for the outpouring of love, hope and support I’ve received from across the diocese and beyond. 

If you desire to send me a message directly, please e-mail me at healinggrace@thediocese.net. I will deeply appreciate your prayers and your reaching out.

Faithfully,

Thursday, April 2, 2020

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   Philippians 4:6-7

My spirit, mind and body are filled with thanksgiving today. My surgeon called with the wonderful news that the surgery was completely successful; the margins and the lymph nodes are clear. I feel blessed and uplifted by the immeasurable wonder of God’s healing grace, and by the indescribable capacity for the human body to be healed.  

My next step is to meet with a radiation oncologist and prepare for three to six weeks of daily radiation. I don’t know yet if that will be able to happen soon or if it must wait until after the coronavirus pandemic. Either way, I trust fully in the power of healing grace and will continue to embrace the journey, as this batch of “Cancer Cards” suggests.

Women friends, if you haven’t had your annual mammogram yet, do it!  Call and make the appointment today!!  I would not have known that I had breast cancer for a dangerously long time if it hadn’t been for my annual mammogram. Healing from this cancer is so much easier when it is caught early. 

I thank you for your prayers and wish you healing grace for the days and weeks ahead.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I am uplifted and blessed by your continued prayers and those of so many. I came home from the hospital after surgery yesterday evening. During the long, long day there, I was surrounded by kind, skilled and compassionate people who played roles, large and small, in my healing. This doodle, which emerged during the times of waiting, names each of them. I give thanks to God for them and pray God’s blessing upon each one as they serve God and others in such concrete ways.

Friday, March 27, 2020

6 p.m. Update: Bishop Goff is now through surgery and is heading home from the hospital tonight. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Lent

I continue to be deeply blessed by your prayers. Thank you.

Surgery remains scheduled for this Friday, March 27, at 1:15 p.m. I anticipate that Tom will not be permitted to stay with me as I prepare for and await surgery. We plan for him to drop me off in the morning, go home, then return to pick me up when I am released, presumably in the late afternoon or early evening. He will not come into the hospital at all. Given the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 at the hospital, it is for the best. While I will enter that particular mile of the journey by myself, I will not feel alone. Your prayers will lift me. God’s love will enfold me. 

In preparation for surgery and recovery, I have made more “C” cards. Along with ID and insurance card, some of these will go with me to the hospital.

God bless us all in these days of pandemic. Although we each walk our own steps along the way, we are on the same road. We are in this together. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Thank you to all of you who have written me notes, particularly the women who have been on this journey before or who are on it now.  I am blessed to be in the company of such courageous sisters, my true bosom buddies.

Surgery is scheduled for the end of next week – if it is not bumped because of our current, wider health crisis. As I wait and wonder about the surgery, and as I wait and wonder along with all of you about the coronavirus, I turn to my go-to stress relief strategies – prayer, humor and art. 

I am making myself a stack of “cancer cards,” a deck of 52 playing size cards (2 1/2 X 3 1/2), each of which shows a word that begins with the letter C. As you can observe in the photo, they are a mix of irreverent, playful, hopeful and prayerful. (I’ve omitted the few raw, “R-rated” cards).

A purpose of these C-word cards is to counter and change the fear narrative of the C-word that has just entered my life – Cancer. It seems to me that the cards will also help change the fear narrative of a couple of other C-words – coronavirus and COVID-19. Perhaps you’ll want to make your own C-cards. Or make a couple for my deck. Pull them out when you  need to be cheered. Give them to others who are on the journey. Above all, hold onto courage, calm, curiosity, creativity and all of the good things that give you life. 

Thanks be to God that we have each other. Thanks be to God for healing grace.

Your sister in Christ,
+Susan

Monday, March 9, 2020

Dear Diocesan Family,

I write to you with news that is personal and that touches on our life together as a diocesan community. I have been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. It was detected early in a routine mammogram in February. While the cancer is not aggressive, my marvelous medical team and I are responding quickly. I anticipate that I will have surgery before Easter and begin additional treatment a few weeks later. My prognosis is excellent.  I am otherwise in very good health and have a strong support system. While this is not a season I ever would have chosen, I am on a remarkable, creative and holy Lenten journey.

As I take care of myself during treatment, I will be able to do the ministry to which God and this diocese have called me, although with a somewhat lightened schedule. In particular, my Monday through Friday travel will be limited for some weeks during the second phase of treatment. This reality will not require rescheduling Sunday visitations.  During the time of reduced travel, I will embrace electronic meetings more fully than ever. My colleague Bishop Brooke-Davidson, our team of visiting bishops, our committed diocesan staff and our Standing Committee are working together with me to ensure that our diocesan life remains healthy during these next months. I anticipate resuming my normal round of activities before the end of June.  

Diagnosis and treatment do not change my retirement plans. I will continue to serve as Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority through the election and consecration of our next Bishop Diocesan in 2022, and then as Bishop Suffragan until I retire in 2023.

I invite you to send any messages or words of encouragement you might offer me to healinggrace@thediocese.net. Your notes will be collected in a folder in my inbox. I will open and read them once a day during a prayerful time. In addition, I will post periodic updates, reflections, meditations and art that emerge from this healing journey. You can find the blog at www.thediocese.net/healinggrace

I feel buoyed by prayer and covet your continued prayers for me, for my husband Tom, for our diocesan staff, and for all the people of this diocese. 

Faithfully yours,
+Susan

O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.