There and Back Again: with Charity Singleton

And somehow I know I was meant to sit here this day, at the end of a painful year, holding onto this little rug that nearly couldn’t be fixed, and figure it out.

Charity Singleton, from her blog, “Wide Open Spaces.” The post: “Fix The Thing.”

A lot of you know Charity. Last year was rough for her, including another bout with cancer. But to meet her–as I did in September–you just forget about all that.

I haven’t walked Charity’s path, but I did grow up with a great deal of cancer in my family, including both my parents. There was a lot in my life that couldn’t be fixed. And as a child, I couldn’t figure it out.

“What is your New Year’s resolution?” people have asked this week.

I roll my eyes and sigh. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Any plans I make are easily changed on my digital devices. Why? Because I must always be ready for tragedy.

It always comes. It always has. It always will. I thought I was crazy until I read Hope Edelman’s “Motherless Daughters” and “Motherless Mothers.” No, I’m not crazy; I’m a category.

And then, of course, I’m always expecting that I’m going to get sick, as in cancer-sick. I’m stunned that I’m about to turn 41. I never thought I’d live this long. Every doctor I’ve ever had is nice and friendly until they take my family’s medical history. Then their eyes get wide. They look away.

So I try to live ready. If not me, then surely someone in the family will need me. As soon as the magazine is done this month, I’m good to go. And when it doesn’t come, I have a list of things that need doing, and I do them. But that list isn’t a list of goals. It’s just a laundry list of stuff, like laundry. An oil change.

Charity makes me question everything I just wrote, perhaps because she has walked where I fear to tread. What if I tried to figure it out, instead of giving up at the outset? What if got out my needle and thread (Confession: I can’t sew.) … What if I got out my metaphorical needle and thread and simply tried to fix the thing? I have no idea what might happen.

There and Back Again


  1. Megan, I don’t know if we can figure it out all the time. I think the journey is about knowing when to try and when to stop. I read something recently about the difference between resignation and acceptance: Resignation has a beaten up, victim quality of defeat to it, while acceptance is to be relished, because it means we have a richer understanding of the reality of our situations. (this is from Margaret Wheatley’s book, “Perserverance”, a great read, btw).

    All my best to you on the journey.

  2. I always like it when Bradley comments before I do, because he always has such good things to say. Then all I have to do is agree with him! Actually, as I was reading your post I kept thinking about God’s instructions to Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. He told them that they would live in exile for seventy years, during which they were to build houses and plant vineyards. Building a house, planting a vineyard, and picking up the metaphorical needle and thread are all actions that bear witness to hope. By the way, the reason I named my blog what I did was because when doctors ask for my family history, all they see are crazy people.

  3. i thought I knew what I was going to say, but then i read Nancy’s comment. I thought about the Garden of Eden and how perfect it was – and all along He knew. We have so many health issues in our family that if I dwell on them I not only don’t try to fix it i become paralyzed right where I am. I am trying to learn to live every day without looking ahead at what could be – and instead living each one fully.
    I understand Megan. You’ve put into words so much of what I feel.

  4. How do we keep moving forward with any kind of purpose while waiting for the other shoe to drop?

    I’ve got no answers…only a needle and some thread; only a big heart and listening ear and love and prayers and hope. If you can’t mend well, perhaps those around can help with some of the stitches?

    Love to you.

    Love to Charity.

    And Linda, and Bradley, and Nancy.

  5. I read your words, I read the comments and I am iawe of your honesty, your beauty and your soul

    And when I read your last statement I thought – maybe miracles happen qhe. We pick up needle and thread.

  6. Megan – This brought tears to my eyes, especially today, a hard day. I don’t know all the pain you have known, but I have a sense of it out of my own pain. And some days, I feel like that level of pain demands only curling up in a ball. But then, I imagine spending all the rest of my days curled up in a ball, and that seems unbearable in its own way. Paul told the Corinthians that he felt like he had received a sentence of death so that he would learn not to rely on himself. I know exactly how he feels.

    Much love to you, Megan. And can’t wait to see what that needle and thread create!

  7. Megan – your name was selected at random from the list of reviews of Dancing Priest at Amazon – to get an autographed copy of the book. Can you send a mailing address to Thanks!

  8. Something {Someone} drew me here from a comment posted somewhere?!

    Threading the needle takes patience … using it takes perseverance. Sometimes I find it easier to just enjoy the color of the thread although that fixes nothing. And once again, I pick up the needle and ask for help in the threading.

  9. “Because I must always be ready for tragedy.”

    That thought has been coloring my days lately. How can I make commitments that I might need to break? Like I was supposed to teach our ladies Bible study starting in September, but I was gone to be with my mom. Now the other teacher is covering for me through this month, too, but can I really teach beginning in Feb? It’s so hard to even start to study–and then I don’t know when my dad might need me, or the kids, or grandgirls.

    But then you write, “I try to live ready.” I think of that as I’m trying to reestablish order in my surroundings, in my heart, in my mind. Ready for whatever comes.

    I need to get out my needle and thread. And one of those thingies to help me find the eye. 🙂

    Much, much love to you, dear Megan.

  10. By the way, another family member was diagnosed with cancer yesterday. This is someone in my husband’s family, but they’re my family, too.

  11. Nice, I’ve bookmarked the page in Digg under “There and Back Again: with Charity Singleton Megan Willome”. So hopefully our friends can give you a visit. Cheers!