Because we are so loved

A beautiful afternoon with Dr. Santos and Ellen Rodriguez, Fayetteville, Georgia July 2013

A beautiful afternoon with Dr. Santos Rodriguez and Ellen Rodriguez
Fayetteville, Georgia July 2013

“I believe, with every fiber of my being, that when we are struck down by adversity, God weeps with us and, then, because we are so loved, heals us in ways we can never expect or even imagine.”Sarah Ban Breathnach

I’ve shared here in previous posts that the past eleven months, although fraught with devastating events, have also been filled with unexpected graces.  Among these are the many reunions, mostly by mail or online but also occasionally in person, with people who are praying for us and supporting us with good wishes and expressions of love.

Each letter, gift or visit comes with its own unique blessing.  To those of my readers who have sent me things in the mail: you will never know how much I treasure these tangible symbols of kindness from people I’ve never met face to face.  To the many friends we heard from for the first time in years: it has been such a joy to be back in touch!  Meeting with Cindy and Henry, my friends from the Upper Room fellowship online, whom I’d never met in person, was another wonderful experience.

As I write this, I am thinking especially of how the past ten days have brought to mind the words “my cup runneth over,” and I’m not thinking only of our precious grandson.  Months ago, when Jeff was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer after receiving the first diagnosis of apparently unrelated cancer in the appendix, I got a very special surprise in the mail.

It was a letter from my all-time favorite teacher, whom I had not seen since I was in her fourth grade classroom 1965-66.  She and her husband frequently visit my mother’s health food store and chat with my younger brother who works there, who also was in her class several years after I was.  Through him, she learned of our circumstances and sent me a lovely letter.  It would not be an overstatement to say I was thrilled to hear from her.

A few weeks later she sent me a beautiful devotional book, and I phoned my mother and said “please tell Ms. Rodriguez that the next time I come to Atlanta, we MUST have lunch together!’  That dream came true the day after I held my grandson for the first time, as my parents and I enjoyed lunch with this remarkable couple.  She looks amazingly like she did almost 50 years ago! And her husband (a physician who is 94 years young) was absolutely charming.  I told my mother she should pay them to hang around her health food store; they are the best advertisement for nutrition that I have ever seen!

Those of you who are also Facebook friends (anyone is welcome 🙂 ) may have seen this photo before, which I shared with a couple of my classmates who are on Facebook and were equally happy to see the photo of our beloved teacher.  Sharing memories of our childhood years was another blessing.  As with most of God’s gifts, this one just keeps on giving.

During the very dark days of Jeff’s devastatingly poor prognosis, before we knew he would have such a good response to treatment and again when the healing after the liver resection seemed an almost impossible goal, it was hard to focus on or imagine all the ways God could bless us through the many crises we had endured since September.  Many days, all we could do was put one foot in front of another and get through that day.

Yet we continue to be upheld and sustained by the myriad ways God is taking care of us, mostly through people such as you.  Thank you for being part of a healing that we could never have expected or even imagined.  Should you find yourself in a dark and lonely place, HANG ON and have faith in the goodness that surely awaits you in the future.

This post was first published seven years ago today. A few years ago, Dr. Rodriguez passed from this life, having enjoyed nearly a century on this earth. Mrs. Rodriguez (known to me now as Ellen– though it still feels a little strange to call my beloved fourth grade teacher by her first name!) is doing well, and we are still in touch. She remains beautiful, fit and active. I hope very much to see her again when COVID allows us to travel once more.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Mike

    Yes it would be nice to do some travelling. We have not got up to NYC for well over a year now. Our last trip up there we took the train from Atlanta. Probably would not do that again,But it was an interesting experience and lasted about 16 hours- which is too long. Navigating Penn station was a challenge with three suitcases.

    • Oh my, Penn station is a challenge with NO suitcases. It’s definitely not what it used to be, according to what I have read. Yes, a long train trip like that is something to experience ONCE, but probably not more often, if other options are available!

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