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A Nod of Thanks

Wisdom can come from surprising sources.   Bedtime read-aloud time did not cease at our house when our children became adults, instead my husband became the audience.  He lets me choose the reading material, so a recent revisiting of Winnie-the-Pooh revealed some profound truth from the mouth of that wise-for-his-years Christopher Robin. 

While visiting Rabbit his love of  “a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning” causes Pooh to over indulge in honey and condensed milk, leading to difficulties as he tries to climb out of Rabbit’s hole. Finding himself unable to go forward he tries to go back, but even with Rabbit’s help he is stuck.  Rabbit, less than thrilled at the prospect of not being able to use his front door, goes to fetch Christopher Robin.  Always calm in a crisis, Christopher Robin assures them that of course Rabbit will be able to use his front door again, and when he is unable to free Pooh himself  he pronounces the difficult truth. 

“Then there’s only one thing to be done,” he said.  “We shall have to wait for you to get thin again.” 

“How long does getting thin take?”  asked Pooh anxiously.

“About a week I should think.” 

“But I can’t stay here for a week!”

“You can stay here all right, silly old Bear.  It’s getting out which is so difficult.” 

There it is.  Pooh is confronted with the unpleasant truth.  He can, because he must.  But his friends soften the pain of this harsh reality with their presence. 

“We’ll read to you,” said Rabbit cheerfully. 

“And I hope it won’t snow, ” he added.  “And I say, old fellow, you’re taking up a good deal of room in my house- do you mind if I use your back legs as a towel-horse?  Because, I mean, there they are– doing nothing–and it would be very convenient just to hang the towels on them.”

“A week!” said Pooh gloomily.  “What about meals?” 

“I’m afraid no meals,” said Christopher Robin, “because of getting thin quicker.  But we will read to you. ”

Bear began to sigh, and then found he couldn’t because he was so tightly stuck; and a tear rolled down his eye, as he said:

“Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?”

So for a week Christopher Robin read that sort of book at the North end of Pooh,

and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end…

and in between Bear found himself getting slenderer and slenderer and slenderer.

Ever find yourself like Pooh, thinking “I just can’t

                 bear the sorrow…

                 wait for those test results…

                 endure the pain…

                 survive without that relationship…

                 deal with cancer..?

I suspect you have.  I know I have. 

Christopher Robin’s words are true.  “You can stay here all right, silly old  ____(insert name here)______  .  It’s getting you out which is so difficult.”

We are not promised a life without time wedged in a hole.  Our wait may be a week like Pooh’s.  For some it is years.  Or a lifetime. 

2011 for me was a bit like being stuck in Rabbit’s front door.  Caught by cancer, wedged in some uncomfortable places, yet the days were made easier  by the words of a Sustaining Book,  written by a God of Surprises.  It was a story of friends that visited, and hands that prepared food.  Its stories contained the beauty of flowers bestowed, cards written, gifts given, and old acquaintances renewed.   


Its pages even held mystery.  Unmarked envelopes with cash that appeared like manna from heaven, strangers offering prayers from corners of the world I will never see. 

Some of you are a part of that Sustaining Story. 

Others, like Rabbit, provided the comforting message that life still happens even in the midst of crisis, and we might as well get comfortable with it.  Maybe even dry our towels on the back legs of the thing.  Surgery recovery became a long slumber party in the living room.  Hair falling out by the handful became a “New ‘Do” event.  Shaving mom’s head in my son and daughter-in-law’s new apartment kitchen was celebrated like a house warming party.  


Best of all, my husband and the rest of those treated to the sight of me daily, encouraged me and made me feel like it was the most natural thing in the world to live  with a bald lady with almost no eyebrows. 

Pooh did get slendererer, and when Christopher Robin pronounced “Now!”he took hold of Pooh’s paws and Rabbit took hold of Christopher Robin, and all Rabbit’s friends and relations took hold of Rabbit, and they all pulled together…

And for a long time Pooh only said “Ow!”…

And “Oh!”…

And then all of a sudden he said “Pop!” just as if a cork were coming out of a bottle. 

And Christopher Robin, and Rabbit, and all Rabbit’s friends and relations went head-over-heels backwards… and on top of them came Winnie-the-Pooh–free! 

My year wedged in the rabbit hole is about to be done.  This time last year I awakened from surgery to news that I did not want to hear.  Like Pooh, I found myself in a tight spot, faced with the profound truth that I could indeed wait, that getting out was the thing which was difficult. 

Surgery and Recovery– Ow!

Radiation inside and out, chemotherapy–Oh!


My friends and relations, and their friends and relations pulled together and like Pooh, I feel like I am  beginning  2012 with a “Pop!” like a cork coming from a bottle..  Freed from my tight spot! I might find myself stuck again someday, but that doesn’t diminish the joy of freedom today. 


So with a nod of thanks to his friends, he went on with his walk through the forest, humming proudly to himself.  But Christopher Robin looked after him lovingly, and said to himself, “Silly old Bear!”

Here’s my nod of thanks to all of those who Sustained and Comforted and Pulled Together for a Wedged Gal in Great Tightness.  Best wishes for a very Happy New Year!



  1. Terry Graham
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Laura, you are an inspiration. We love you!

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Love you too! Thankful for a friend like you!

  2. Elaine Herweck
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your gift to others-the gift of yourself-we all love you.

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Blessings to you Elaine. Thanks for your constant encouragement!

  3. Dee Wilkinson
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Oh Laura, thank you for the beautiful heart for God that you have shared with us as you walked with HIM! It has strengthened all of us with the glorious assurance that we do not have to travel any of this journey without HIM right beside us at all times. HE holds our hands, puts HIS arms around us holding us close to HIM, and lets us actually feel HIS constant presence through HIS guiding directions which He provides in our hearts to keep our minds centered on HIM: HIS GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT. You have shared that sweet closeness with all of us in the light of your heart shining through deep dark times. Thank God that we are all beautiful to HIM. Love and prayers, Dee

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Thank you Dee for your beautiful reminders. Love you!

    • Posted 21 Jul ’16 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      É-me díficil fazer aquilo que escreves neste post. Não só pelo que já disseste (televisão ligada, msn, IRC…) mas também pela óbvias distracções. Começo por pe23sisar&#8uq0; acabo por ir parar ao YouTube ver um possivelmente um vídeo a publicar mas depois olho para o lado e vej outros videos e vou vendo mais vídeos. Chega um ponto em que afinal, perdeste-te pelo caminho

  4. Kathy Hamilton
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks to your great & Holy Spirit we all have come out of a dark hole with you. You make us smile and one more time we thank God for gifts like you.
    Love, Kathy

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I appreciate all your kindnesses toward me in the last year. Thanks you!

    • Posted 6 Nov ’16 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Hola! que buenas cosas tienen por aqui!! Feic!itailonesc! He descubiertio la página por una amiga. Me encantan sus consejos y como explican cada uno de ellos. Sigan asi.

    • Posted 14 Nov ’16 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, just wait until they see your Christmas comic, then we’ll have to watch your back for Jesuits. Although keeping with the Python theme, that could be Brian in the manger.

    • Posted 1 Jan ’17 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s really great that people are sharing this information.

  5. Linda Gregersen
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Laura, what a beautiful post. Thanks for letting us share in your journey, and for inspiring us along the way.

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Thanks Linda, you are a great inspiration to me as well!

  6. Joni Thomas
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Ah, thank you for your story–and Pooh’s. I think I feel a bit freer now. What a great inspiration:)

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Thanks Joni. Anytime I think of this year I will always remember your thoughtful gift. Love you!

  7. Ladean Smith
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Your grace, beauty and wisdom are remarkable….a great reflection of our Father.

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Thanks Ladean, good to hear from you!

  8. Connie Chrane
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 5:39 pm | Permalink


    What a beautiful post! Love you, friend. I pray that as 2012 begins, this past year and all its trials become a distant memory. You walked through it gracefully and are a great example of what relying on God looks like.

    • Posted 8 Jan ’12 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      So glad that we have had a chance to spend some time together lately. Let’s continue!

  9. Lisa Riddle
    Posted 31 Dec ’11 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh Laura your post really hit home. Life can be so difficult sometimes. I’m glad your treatment is coming to an end. I pray that his next year will be less eventful for all of us.

    • Posted 7 Jan ’12 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Lisa, I am expecting great things this year for the both of us. Thanks for your encouragement!

  10. Joshua
    Posted 2 Jan ’12 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Terrific! Tragic and hilarious at the same time. Here’s to a cancer-free 2012. We love you and will continue to support you. This will be the year everything comes together for us…assuming the Mayans were wrong.

    • Posted 7 Jan ’12 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I don’t put much stock in what the Mayans thought. If they were so wise their place wouldn’t be in the shape it is today:) Whatever the year holds, we’re in it together!
      Love you!

  11. Posted 10 Jan ’12 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post. I’ve always loved Pooh.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] year together, dear readers, I wanted to continue with that note of hopefulness by pointing you to the blog of Laura Massingill, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She’s part of one of three shepherding teams [...]

  2. By Adventures in Silk Land on 1 May ’12 at 12:54 am

    [...] sent a little panic through me as I envisioned this.  I could easily see them enjoying a goofy photo of my bald head, or visualize them giggling over the thought of me showing up for jury duty on the wrong day, but [...]

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