One was the health of someone I care deeply about. Their health status was a question mark. Doctors ordered more tests, and the test results showed abnormalities. It was possible that they were facing something very serious, perhaps even deadly.
After losing three friends last year, I was freaking out. Not calm at all. Not the kind of support I should have been. Instead I was madly googling combinations of symptoms, finding rare diseases and not so rare diseases, and all of them with bad outcomes.
The second thing I've been worried about is a new project. Of course, it's not nearly as important as my loved one's health. But still, I want this project to succeed, and there's a lot about it that is different than anything I have done before.
One morning, when I was out for a run, I asked God for a sign that things would be okay. Specifically, I asked to find a coin.I always like to find money, and I look for it everyplace I go. First of all, it's rare, at least in my neighborhood. I walk and/or run every day, but sometimes months will go by where I don't find anything. Second of all, money says "In God We Trust," and it reminds me of my need to trust.
And then I saw the glint of something silver. A nickel, a dime, even a quarter? Silver coins are much rarer to find than brown-colored pennies.
No. It was this weird metal thing, I guess a washer of some sort. And it was rusty.
I started to laugh. It was rusty and it had a hole in it. Perfect metaphor for my faith.
At home, I kept praying. A long time ago, someone taught me this way to pray where you lift your hands high overhead and you tell God about the burden you are carrying - or you think you are carrying - and you offer it all up to him. Eventually, your arms get so tired and heavy and you have to let go. You have to give it up.
A few days later, I was running and I found another flat silver thing that wasn't a coin. It had a hole in it and it wasn't rusty.
And a few days after that, I found these. Play money that's basically one-fourth the size of a dollar bill.
Meanwhile my loved seemed to be slowly getting better even as they did more and more medical tests.
And on Monday I stepped out of my car at Traders Joes and found this.
And yesterday we heard from the doctor that while we may not ever know what caused it, the test results have all returned to normal, or close to it.
As for the project? I don't know yet. But I think it will be okay.
Today I also find myself thinking of Jay Lake, a Portland sci-fi writer who has been very open about his battle with what is now Stage Four colon cancer (the same cancer that killed Bridget Zinn last year). On his blog yesterday he revealed that his latest test results are bad. Three new growths in his liver. I know he is an atheist, and that he is unwavering in that. Maybe I am deluded, seeing signs and portents in pieces of trash.
But maybe not.
ETA: (And, as Jay says in his latest post: If it helps you to pray for me, feel free to pray. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I think you should be. Likewise, if it helps you to cuss, feel free to cuss. Or send a check to the American Cancer Society or the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund. Or buy one of my books. Or just go tell someone you love them.)