I remember it clear as day, that breakfast at Laity Lodge. It was my first time there, the first time I would meet many of my online family at The High Calling. We were getting ready for breakfast—considering heart prayers—when Jennifer said it.
“Elaine Olsen is having her surgery today; we need to keep her in prayer.”
“What?” Asked Laura Barkat.
I nodded, because I knew too, had been praying for my sweet sister.
“Elaine Olsen. She blogs at Peace for the Journey? She’s having a double mastectomy today.”
That was two years ago—that day we whispered prayers over Tim’s pastries and granola. And we’ve walked with Elaine through all the terrible that is cancer—we’ve walked as much as a sister can…praying and cheering…listening to the story.
And the amazing thing about my friend Elaine? She not only openly shares the terrible, but she mines deep places in her heart to find the wonderful too. And she shares. When Elaine learns something—when she finds a blessing in a hard place—she is not the type to keep it to herself. Didn’t Jesus tell us to love each other? Didn’t James say to consider our trials pure joy?
Standing here on the sidelines of Elaine’s story, I’m learning how hard these words can be. How beautiful and wise.
As Elaine fought her battle, another person I love was diagnosed with breast cancer. Someone close to home. And what do I know of these things except the wonder of how a person can have such grace in the midst of this kind of war—because it is a war. The fingers of the Fall take on the skin of this disease and it touches every inch of person’s life—body and soul—until we are left pleading, No more…no more, please.
It must change a person. It changed me in the watching.
In her new book Beyond Cancer’s Scars Elaine speaks openly of the journey. She still travels. When I bought one of her books for my loved one, she sent me another to give away. Because she wants these words to reach the wounded. That’s the kind of person she is—it’s not about sales or publicity or a platform for Elaine. It’s about getting this book into the hands of the people who need it.
If you leave a comment on this post before Monday you’ll be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of Beyond Cancer’s Scars. If you tweet about this giveaway or share it on facebook, you’ll get another chance for each. If you know someone whose life has been touched by cancer, this book is such a comfort. You can order it from Amazon here.