I stood uncomfortably next to a diagnostic mammography machine as a technician manipulated my left breast into contortions flat enough to be squashed between two imaging paddles. In order to get the best images, the left side of my face was jammed against the cold, hard metal as she took a series of pictures. Already I had submitted to what I believed was a routine mammogram the prior week. My doctor later called to inform me that an area of calcification had been detected in my left breast. A follow up mammogram had been ordered at their diagnostic center for further testing.
As the technician took the slides into the other room to be read, she told me it would take a few minutes and to have a seat. I sat down and began to ponder. Perhaps this might be a good time to pray, I thought. Perhaps this might be a good time to pour out my heart to a higher power. I began and then stopped. What was I going to say? Dear God, please don’t let there be any cancer? Dear God, please make any cancer go away? What exactly was I expecting? That I would offer a plea to the Almighty to spare me of a potential malignancy, He would wave his supernal arm, and “poof” the disease would disappear? Something about that reasoning did not seem right to me.
I thumbed through an issue of Washingtonian magazine. An elegant, glossy photo caught my eye. Two brass railings hugged an ecru marble staircase as it ascended before splitting into two different directions, right and left. I could see myself superimposed on that staircase, taking in the celestial light as it splashed through the windows of the French doors at the top of those marble stairs. Apricot walls and a golden colored chandelier encapsulated the majesty of the scene, and I could see my belated smiles jumping off the page. I had my answer.
Dear God, whatever happens, I thought, give me the courage and grace to handle the situation as you would have me do. I felt at peace. The technician walked in with good news. Everything appeared to be all right. As a precaution because I am fibrocystic, I was asked to come back in six months for a follow up mammogram and evaluation.
As I drove home I kept thinking about that picture in Washingtonian magazine. I cannot speak for others who face potential crises; nor do I believe I have the right to tell them how to pray and the favors they should ask. But in my little world it felt wrong to ask God to vanquish my problems when others are vexed with issues far greater than my own. Instead I believe He inspired me through that picture to be happy for the person I am and to own the resolution to oppugn that which might harm me. God answered my prayer through a picture in a magazine. This I believe.