GOOD ONE local columnist Jan Woodard

Jan Woodard shares thoughts on faith, life and recovery. Contact her at janwoodard.com or textingthrucancer@gmail.com

There is no place where God is not. The Creator of space fills all of it.

The delivery room and the cemetery.

The ocean depths and my morning tea cup.

The storm and the stillness.

Such knowledge is too great for me, higher than all that tethers me to earth.

Knowing this doesn’t keep me from feeling hurt right now, scratched by that old splinter of rejection.

It threatens to disturb older wounds that in the vastness of time matter little or nil.

Except to me.

I wanted to be invited, included. And I was not.

God entirely will be there that day.

And will be entirely here.

Weaving a pattern far bigger than my small view, the Lord takes tender threads of disappointment and draws me near through a portal I didn’t see before. The raveled thread I dwell upon darkly tightens my ties to the Divine.

Like a splinter just below the skin, this irritation is deep enough to infect if not removed.

God wastes nothing. When cancer resurfaced last winter, I found that cords of sadness added richer tones to my song I didn’t know were missing.

At the request of my book editor I’m writing about disciplines of the Christian faith this fall. God consistently allows me to stumble over whatever obstacle I’m currently writing or speaking about. Right now I’m considering thoughts on detachment, not often discussed as a spiritual practice in my faith tradition.

We Protestants are missing something powerful here.

Detachment is choosing to place emotions, thoughts, things, goals and even relationships to the side, to detach from them when necessary, letting my heaviness be carried along in God’s stream of peace.

God invites me to detach when I’d rather whine. The Lord knows how I permit perceived injuries to consume all the air around me, as if I deserve better from a broken world, forgetting the world deserves better from me.

Faith urges me to confess, release and move on while some agitated part of me would let old miseries rise like yeast, ballooning until I burst from self-pity and splatter it all over this otherwise golden autumn day.

The God of choices says choose.

Choose hurt or choose Me.

Like Joshua heading into battle for the Promised Land, I can choose which deity I’ll serve.

Lesser gods who topple over and crumble when winds blow, or the Rock of Ages.

This splinter of discontent surfaced at the same time my oncologist’s office took me off my oral chemotherapy.

Otherwise I lack the stamina to fight even the mild sinus infection that’s been bothering me. If you see me and I don’t shake your hand or hug you these long winter months, please understand. I’m trying to avoid germs and will flap my elbow like a chicken wing at you, instead.

It seems like a contradiction. I’m off medicine that is saving my life so I can grow stronger and recover from a measly cough and head cold.

Here too, God says choose.

Choose worry or choose Me.

Choose the path to relinquishment or the brier patch of malignant defeat.

I choose to detach from what is not grace-giving.

I choose to give thanks: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV).

I choose to believe that all things work together for good for those who love God and partner with the Spirit’s purposes.

Last week I let Jim remove a stubborn tick from my spine. I wanted to huddle in bed and forget about it but chose temporary pain over contracting Lyme disease.

I choose to not ignore spiritual splinters that prick my pride and sting my feelings and instead pursue God’s healing ways.

I choose to rest in Creation’s goodness.

To love others over self.

I choose hope over dread.

I choose to not waste anything.

I choose God.

All will be well.