Unexpected Gifts

I’m glad to hear that a number of you have tested your home for radon after reading my last blog post. Good news!

I must confess I’ve had a rough month, with a touch of the flu, then a cold which has dragged on. I still sound awful – coughing horribly – but I’m feeling much better and thankful / hoping to be kicking this cold to the curb!

But enough about that! I want to tell you a wonderful thing that happened several weeks ago. A complete stranger came to my house and gave me a quilt!

This “stranger” volunteers with Victoria’s Quilts Canada, delivering handmade quilts to people with cancer. A woman from church very kindly and thoughtfully asked them to make a quilt for me. She let me know it would be coming, so this was not completely unexpected!

What did surprise me, though, was that I broke down and cried when I saw the quilt!

When I learned that a quilt had been requested for me, I went online to learn about Victoria’s Quilts – you can click the link above if you’re interested. They have a lovely story and a strong volunteer base who seek to “bring physical comfort to those dealing with cancer, as well as spiritual comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggle.” They currently distribute about 600 quilts per month, with a lovely little card.

I got to chatting with the woman who delivered my quilt, and it turns out that when I was a toddler, she lived across the street from my family. We don’t remember each other at all, but what a small world! I asked if I could take a picture of her with the quilt, but she said no – it’s not about her, it’s about the quilt. Before I had any idea a quilt had been requested for me, before I had even heard of Victoria’s Quilts, people were thinking of me, caring for me, and working on a quilt just for me.

I have a confession to make. I feel small and ungrateful, but shortly before my quilt arrived, I wondered if I would like it, and prayed a quick prayer that I would like it, that something about it would be special for me. (Like it wasn’t enough that so many people put so much kindness and care into the whole process…)

You may know that I love being in or near water. If you’ve seen the art in my home, almost every picture is of water. I love the beach!

When I caught my first glimpse of my quilt, I started to cry because it’s the beach! When I look at it, I see a beautiful gift made especially for me! I am so grateful! I was surprised by how deeply significant this generous gift was to me.

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I have so much to be thankful for, including thoughtful and generous friends and strangers, my husband and kids who have done so much extra around the house these past few weeks (my 17yo is cooking dinner as I write this!), special times with family, and Easter – a celebration of the most deeply significant, loving, generous gift ever!

Whether or not you are celebrating Easter this year, may you and yours be filled with joy and gratitude! And may you know that there are people cheering for you, even if you can’t always hear them.

 

Freedom and Physiotherapy

This new drug is working so well that for the first time in about two years I am not stuck sleeping on only my right side! What a relief! It’s great news and I’m glad to have this freedom. Would you believe, though, that my left shoulder is sore from sleeping on it?

This has been going on since early June. I gave it a bit of time to see if it would resolve on its own, but it didn’t. I get free physiotherapy at the cancer centre, but it took a while to get in. I am happy to say that this week I finally saw the physiotherapist. She’s excellent! (Don’t know why I waited so long to ask for an appointment!)

She did some work on my shoulder, and immediately my range of motion increased! She gave me stretches and strengthening exercises, and instructed me on how to hold my body. I”ve been working on it the past couple of days, and things are improving, but oh it hurts!

These past months my body has gotten in the habit of moving in certain ways to protect itself from further harm. This is good, because I haven’t injured myself more. But it’s become a bad habit because I’m moving in ways that aren’t healthy for my body. Without even realizing, I’ve grown accustomed to a new way of holding myself and doing things, and that has resulted in significant tightening and weakening of certain muscles. This will take time to overcome!

I knew there was a problem, but I didn’t know what it was nor how to work at improving it. I’m thankful for the expertise of the physiotherapist to help me with this. Working at the exercises is awkward and even painful, but I know it’s a necessary part of the healing process.

Pain can be a gift, because it tells us something is wrong. Avoiding pain is common and desirable in many ways, but it’s so good to stretch out of the unhelpful, self-protecting patterns that we may have established, that we may not even be aware of!

Unhealthy self-protection isn’t just a physical thing. There are many ways we can hold ourself back from being who we are really meant to be. Our desire for comfort and resulting choices can cause us harm.

Taking risks and stretching out our comfort zones can be healthy, exhilarating even! … and it can hurt! but sometimes that pain is necessary for good growth.

Our beloved Bible study group is working through Galatians, it this week a number of references about true freedom jumped out at me.  I yearn for us all to live a life of fullness and true freedom!

Don’t let fear or pain hold you back!

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