Scars in the Sunlight

With Shelly Vaughn

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“Because You Loved Me”

I went in for my annual MRI scan on Monday and came out with good results and a sweet story!

If you haven’t had an MRI, know that the machine is a tube that you enter and have to stay still for the duration of the test. For my breast MRIs, I have to lay face down and enter the machine feet first, while my face is squished in a cushion and an IV is in my arm above my head. (My “boobs” are pulled down to hang through the table like udders- it’s ridiculous and weird.) It’s not comfortable at all- not that any position would be comfortable if you can’t move for 45-60 minutes.

The machine is also really loud- it clanks and bangs and is hard to describe. In order to take your mind off of things, and in a poor attempt to drown out the loud noises, the techs give you a set of headphones to listen to music during the test. And they always ask what kind of music you’d like to listen to. Every time I go, I request something different. Last time I asked for 80s, which ended up being more of 80s Rock than the Cyndi Lauper or Madonna that I was hoping for.

So this time, I asked for 90s hits. The day before, I had just hung out with some of my best friends from the 90s and the music from the decade always reminds me of the best times we had in middle school. When I decided to ask for 90s hits, I was really hoping for something upbeat and cheesy- maybe some Ace of Base or The Offspring.

As the machine started moving me backwards into the unknown, I heard the tech in my headphones say, ok, we’ll start your music now just be still.

The music turned on right in the middle of Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” No, this wasn’t the upbeat fun song I was hoping for… it was better. This was the song that my mom and I danced to at my wedding.

Thanks for being with me, mom. I love you.

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I’m A Marathoner!

I know I haven’t posted here for a while, so I wanted to make sure that everyone knows right away that this is a good update!

I ran a marathon last weekend!! I ran and finished the Chicago marathon! I have smaller descriptions of the race in entries I might add later. Today, I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve had since completing it; most of which actually woke me up in the middle of the night last night. I tried to type out my thoughts during my delirious half-asleep state and then make them cohesive today. This is the best I can do…

The night before the marathon, my friend Ryan texted me this quote from a song played years ago when we were teenagers- “It’s already happened, you just need to catch up to it.” The first thing that stands out to me is that this is encouragement coming from someone who knows me, Rob, my brother and sister very well… with a long history with all of us. I always love anything that reminds me of our teenage years because I absolutely love all of my memories from that time. Every time I have gone through physical challenges, there’s something about those endearing memories that remind me how good I’ve had it (which is also why I always listened to Mr. T Experience on the mornings of surgeries).

That message- “It’s already happened… you just have to catch up to it,” really intrigued me! I’ve always been curious about how God exists outside of time. How there’s another realm to all of this that we can’t understand, but we know is not linear. And from that perspective of life, the quote made sense to me and gave me confidence to… well… just catch up to myself at the finish.

As I neared and then crossed that finish line, I was pretty emotional. I couldn’t help but be extremely thankful for this body that got me that far. That kind of gratitude for my body does not come as naturally to me as it used to. I intentionally hold my hands on my chest and say “thank you” out loud after every workout (another thing I learned from a different friend), in an effort to convince myself to be thankful. After the marathon though, it was easily genuine. A feeling I have missed.

Thoughts of that gratitude for the physical body and appreciation for pushing its limits led to thoughts and images of what “potential” means for us. I believe that God creates each of us in a unique, special way, with endless potential. That potential looks so different for everyone. This marathon; my body healing from chemo, radiation, and surgeries; creating 2 other humans… all peaks of potential unique to me. Everyone’s patterns and peaks of potential are unique like a fingerprint.

The metaphor that captures this, which circled my mind in the middle of the night, was a box of crayons. I think we are all created with potential like a standard box of Crayolas. The way that we live, grow, love, heal, and express ourselves is as limitless and unique as all of the potential things that can be created with those crayons. Use all the colors, or just black and white; make one large masterpiece or a thousand small ones, make something that an entire community sees or just your parents; color like most people or create something totally different. Our potential- physical, spiritual, emotional, relational- is really all over the map; but definitely limitless.

* My photo below is the only one that is mine. The others are screenshots of crayon art from online.