So, What’s with Mary’s Blog-Silence?

September 20, 2015

It has been three months since I told you I would not be writing “until the end of June.” Here it is, mid-September, and a couple of you have expressed curiosity, concern, or relief that I have been silent all this time! Though I don’t particularly feel the need to explain myself, the fact that concerns about my health tend to crop up moves me to do so.

Health update: I remain convincingly cancer-free and grateful everyday to God for the gift of life. I still get checked out with a CT scan every three months—though that has gone to six months as of now—and every little thing is double-checked. This time it was two 1-centimeter nodules that showed up on my thyroid. After having the joyful experience of needles stuck into the front of my neck in search of biopsy samples, the report came back benign. Not my favorite procedure, but a good outcome!

Voice update: My vocal troubles, though managed well on the June choir tour, have returned and continue to be a mystery. Despite everything we have tried to solve it, I still have days when I can hardly talk, much less sing. The condition comes and goes, but the unpredictability of it drives me nuts. Now I am thinking it could be allergy related. Prayers needed, as I have two speaking gigs coming up, weekend retreats in October . . .

Breathing update: My lung function under normal everyday conditions is at 100%. The smoke due to our California fires and “Spare the Air” days are more frequently a problem—for the “sensitive population”—so I avoid prolonged exertion outdoors on those days.

Half Dome update. It was on my list once again this year to train for an ascent of Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park. As part of my preparation, I did a short, experimental backpack trip in July, at 8600 feet, six miles into the wilderness and six miles out. This was the first time I had carried a 30-pound pack in about three years! I lugged a 4-lb. oxygen tank and saved it for the big hill. It worked wonders, completely eliminating the misery factor. But for other reasons probably related to—ahem—age, I came to the conclusion that Half Dome is now an unrealistic goal. There’s this one killer section, about a mile “straight up” before you even get to the cables, that was my biggest concern. Confirmed a few weeks later by the report of my husband and daughter who did the trip without me . . . “Mom, you never would have made it.”

Ministry update. I’ve had my few months of play—trips to visit granddaughter Elly, a study tour of Turkey and Greece, and a choir tour to Germany and France. In July, it was time—according to God’s call—to get back to work. I was invited to take a part-time position at John Muir Hospital as associate chaplain, which I started the beginning of July. Three half-days a week is just about right for me and meets a genuine need in our community. It’s been quite awhile since I felt so thoroughly on the front lines of ministry to a very needy population. I’m here to tell you, the hospital gown is an amazing leveler.

Writing update. I have been working steadily on a book about my lung cancer experience called Slaying the Beast: A Spiritual Journal through Lung Cancer. Darling Daughter A is reviewing a too-long manuscript and a writer-friend is suggesting edits to reduce its length by 20%. I also gave it to my radiation oncologist for a medical review. She loved it and said doctors should read it in order to appreciate the patient’s experience. I am hoping the manuscript and a book proposal will be ready by early November. As I bore down on this project, I had only so many precious hours in a day for the kind of creative concentration it required. Blogging insists on the same energy intensity, and I found I couldn’t do both at the same time. Hence, my silence here. Now that the book work is more mechanical, perhaps I can reestablish a blogging discipline. Thing is, I sleep straight through the night now, missing those 3 to 5 a.m. writing periods I enjoyed when I was sick!

Meanwhile, life goes on. We’ve had some pretty amazing news stories in the last few months, many worthy of comment and examination under the light of Scripture. Tragedies abound worldwide, and natural disaster continues to befall people everywhere. The Syrian migration is enlarging, and Greece’s economic precipice is overshadowed by China’s cloud of air pollution and business slowdown. The 2016 presidential campaign has started way too early, and my hope for a centrist, collegial, and creative new leader is perhaps only a pipedream. The Pope is coming to America for a visit; I can’t wait to hear his message, though I am not sure America is ready to heed it.

Trekking on, bringing the Word to life, whether I write about it or not.


9 Responses to “So, What’s with Mary’s Blog-Silence?”

  1. Thank you, as always, Mary. You are a blessing.

  2. Julie Tausend Says:

    Mary- It is so good to hear all about all that has transpired and how God has blessed, helped, and led you. I am excited about your book becoming a reality and delighted that you are being used at John Muir to comfort frightened and grieving families and patients. Being a grandparent is just the loveliest season ever. I’m so glad you find time to be with Miss Elly. Hugs to you and all of your tribe-
    Julie and Woody

  3. houstonhodges Says:

    I follow with an exhalation of gratitude at each entry, pal.

  4. Mary. I’ve been wondering how you are doing! Thanks for following he update.
    Carla Williams

  5. Stephen Eyre Says:

    Me too! I was recently wondering about you and missing your thoughts–good to hear from you and good to hear about you. Especially glad to hear that you have a book project under way. Stephen Eyre

  6. Thanks for the good update! Blessings to you!


    Martha Stewart, MFT 23 Altarinda Road, Suite 102 Orinda, CA 94563 925-254-8538


  7. Linda Lee Says:

    Rev Mary
    Just saw your post…went to junk
    Delighted to hear about your journey.
    Yeah for your manuscript!
    God bless…..

  8. Jodie Gallo Says:

    Your book sounds like a great gift. And you were right about the Pope. He blew everyone’s socks off. My favorite line in his speech to Congress – and I dare say the pivot point of the speech – was:

    ” But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. ”

    I loved it of course because I have been saying the same thing for years and I felt vindicated to hear the Pope say it too.

    But he said it so much better than I ever have. A truly well crafted speech in so many ways.

    And then Boehner announced his retirement and the Right Wing extremists openly celebrated, because they think he was too moderate, too compromising. And I said to myself “Really?!…”.

    If they have ears, I don’t think they heard the Pope. If they get their way, I really fear for this country’s future.

  9. Jodie Gallo Says:

    So, what’s with Mary’s long blog silence?

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