Dear Wayzata Community Church Community,
For most of January we talked about liminal space as a faith community. Liminal spaces are those “in-between places” we live in where it is clear we are moving from one reality to another. It is in the “in-between” that we ask some of life’s biggest questions. Where is God? What am I called to do? How do I wait?
This past week, my family and I were pressed into liminal space in a way we never expected. A terrible stomach ache landed me in the Emergency Room. That ER visit led me to my Doctor who, without examining me said, “Danielle, I need to send you to an oncologist, you have cancer”. Cue the record scratch.
There is no preparing for a moment like this. I told a dear friend of mine that if you would have told me years ago that I would receive the news that I had cancer at the age of 47, I would have imagined everything would go black immediately. Fortunately, I would have been wrong. Although this has been one of the hardest weeks of my life, I have laughed harder, cried tears of grief that are reminders of love, and I have gotten very clear on what matters most: my family, my faith, my friends, and all of you.
My diagnosis is going to lead to some form of surgery and some form of chemo. The diagnosis will not be clear until I have surgery on February 18th when my Doctor will do some exploration to see what is going on. It is likely that I will have a full surgery that day to remove the cancer and then start chemo about four weeks later.
God has already shown up in a multitude of ways. God arrived through an ER staff person named Ben who brought me a cookie and promised he would pray for me. Then there was Beth, who I have never met before, but who spent hours on the phone making sure I had all my ducks in a row to see the oncologist as quickly as possible. I have always known I have an amazing husband, but this week has confirmed it in a thousand different ways. Our sweet girls continue to make us laugh, give us the sweetest hugs, and remind us that there is so much life to be had in this life. I am seeing daily that although this is not what I would have chosen- God is here.
The Staff, Executive Committee, and Council at WCC are some of the best people I know. Together we will continue to lead the church into another new chapter. The good news is we are all getting used to being nimble in leadership by now, so I am confident that we will discern how to be the church through this too.
John Ross and I have been in constant contact since this news emerged, giving careful consideration to the ministry areas that will need attention in the days ahead. We take this responsibility and calling seriously and believe that this is a transformational moment for WCC. Our congregational history and polity is built upon the “priesthood of all believers” and this will be a season when WCC will have the privilege of living into that. What we can tell you at this point is that we will no longer delay the formation of an Associate Minister search committee, and my major areas of responsibility will be well-tended during my healing process. I am very hopeful that I will be able to continue to work on and off throughout my treatments — but taking things a week at a time for a while.
Please pray for our family in the days to come. We have set up a CaringBridge site for those who want to be kept up to date on my progress, send messages of support, and learn about ways to support us on this journey.
Now more than ever I have been invited to “practice what I preach” as we daily rely on God to illuminate the next step and give us just what we need. I am grateful for every one of you.
Grace and peace to you.
Rev. Danielle Jones