I have always loved rainbows.
There’s just something about the symmetry and flow of the colors. The mysterious, fleeting beauty. The fact that all the colors are there…I don’t have to choose just one.
As a gift even before this whole breast cancer season jumbled up our lives, Jerry gave me a beautiful pendant of multi-colored sapphires, arranged into a rainbow. I loved it. When chemo robbed me of my hair, he bought earrings to match, just to decorate my newly nekkid head. “Ear candy,” he called them. What love.
Last year, just before the first surgery during which a tiny lump was removed from my breast along with every lymph node my surgeon could dig out of my armpit, I was driving home one day from work. It had been raining and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The colors were so intense, glowing in a golden, rain-washed sky, that I claimed the rainbow as a promise that all would be well with my new diagnosis of breast cancer. I knew we were driving into a storm. I knew there were no guarantees. But…what I thought was a tic-tac of malignancy, that could be removed with a zit picker and radiated into eternal submission within a week’s time, turned out to be something quite a bit more momentous.
Lumpectomy, axillary node dissection, port placement, open biopsy, 4 months of chemo, mastectomy, radiation, more chemo. Doctors, drugs, scans, labs, needles, anesthesia, drains, procedures, and worst of all…wait, wait, wait. Wait for the labs. Wait for the radiologist. Wait for the pathology report. It has been quite a year, and I’ve pretty much had it with breast cancer.
And here we are, a year later. I put on my rainbow pendant a couple of days ago, and I was horrified to discover two of the stones were missing.
If I were superstitious, I would be nervous. My rainbow pendant, which symbolizes hope and health, was now imperfect. Falling apart, even. But just think about the imperfect beauty of our world! The ridiculous antique chair I inherited from my parents, the quarter-sawn oak painted orange. It makes me laugh just to think of what my Dad was muttering when my Mom made him paint it that color. The tangled threads of my baby son’s bunny toy, once his constant lovey, now a cherished ragged shred. Our fading wedding photo. My dear husband’s bald spot.
My own body. Cut, reassembled, stitched, burned, scarred. Imperfect but beautifully alive.
Jesus, his hands and feet and side wounded forever. For me.
“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us”
From the song, “Beautiful Things,” by Gungor