Rev. Nikky’s Return May 1

Dear St. Mark’s community,

I am so happy to share that I am returning to you all this Sunday! After these long months of recovery, my medical team has agreed that it is safe for me to resume work, provided that I take appropriate breaks and monitor my symptoms. I am incredibly grateful for the many prayers, cards, and notes I have received – it has meant so much to know I have been spiritually held by this community during this extremely difficult time. And there’s not enough thanks I can offer to those of you who brought meals to my family (there are many wonderful cooks in this congregation!) – you have sustained us in more ways than one.

Of the many (many) things I have been learning during this time, one is the penetrating awareness that we all want to know why. Whether it is an accident, disease, virus, violence, or other personal trauma, we want to pin down a cause to blame and we want some assurance that we can prevent it from happening again (or happening to us, or to someone we love). This is an ancient question that people have always asked of God. The truth is, sometimes we just don’t get answers. The best neurologists in the world have looked at my scans, and while we know that an artery in my neck dissected, they do not know what caused that dissection – and in at least half of the cases of strokes like mine, they never find a reason. The good news is the chance of recurrence is only 1%, which are great odds. The frustrating part is living with the lack of a “why.” But life is like this – things just happen, because that’s part of being human. By faith we know that, while we might not receive answers, Christ is with us in the depths of pain or uncertainty.

I am open to talking about my experience to the extent that it connects with your life or is helpful to you in processing grief, fear, pain, loss, a medical diagnosis, etc – but please know that I have plenty of people checking in on me and taking care of me. Stroke affects every individual brain differently, so this will be a process of learning as I go, and I have a wonderful team supporting me in doing so. I will be here for you as your associate rector, pastor, priest.

A note on my family: They are doing well, and share my deep gratitude for your support. My kids are happy and have come through all of this really well. Please don’t ask them about me – let them bring up how this has affected them or how they’re experiencing how I’m doing, if they want to. Ask them about what they’re reading, learning, building with legos, etc! Adam has obviously taken on a lot during this time, and could use your love and prayers as well. Checking in with him about how he’s doing is welcomed, but please ask me (not him) about me, if you have questions.

Please continue to pray for me, as I do for you. May the new life of the Resurrection nourish, sustain, and bless you, now and forevermore.

In Christ,