I came home tonight from my surgery and a community council meeting yet again dominated by Meadowbank to news about a close friend and member of my former congregation.
This is a woman who has faced more than her fair share of trauma in her life, but she has done so with great dignity and humour. So when, in 2000, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the sense of injustice that often is felt at such times seemed even more acute.
As ever however, she faced this new challenge with the same determination as before. Despite the fact that there was treatment but no cure and that she was now carrying a biological "timebomb" deep in her brain that could kill her at any moment, she fought and fought hard.
Early on I spent many hours with her, listening, laughing, crying and being inspired. I was supposed to be supporting her but so often it was me that was being supported.
For eight years I and many others have walked with her, prayed with her, hoped with her, discovered and experienced the power of friendship and love with her. The congregation have prayed for her every Sunday for those 8 years. But I always knew that one day I'd get a call.
Tonight I got the call.
But as is so often the case with my friend, it wasn't what I expected. She called to tell me that, against all medical predictions and despite our deepest fears, she had been told today that the tumour is gone! The consultant can't explain it.. It makes no medical sense. "A miracle" the consultant called it.
I cannot tell you the utter joy I felt when I heard her say "my tumour has gone!" I was lost for words. It is absolutely unbelievable. It gives me hope again about other challenges in a way I had perhaps forgotten was possible.
I had a whole bunch of angry politics to write tonight but that can wait for another day. My friends phone call reminded me once again that there are much more important things in life to feel and to celebrate and I want to savour them instead.
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
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