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Age creased the hands of the surgeon. A large build, tall, athletic, a picture of health. Without even the knowledge of his resume, his deep voice accompanied with a warm smile, he demanded the upmost of attention. But in this moment, weakness consumed him.
His knees, clothed in scrubs, bent on the surgical floor of the hospital. The bright lights produced a spotlight, the beep of the monitors was the soundtrack. His healthy body held all the weakness of the world in his hands.
Place your two fists together and you see the size of your heart. Held in his large hands were two small fists placed together. In his hands he held a red bleeding muscle. In his hands he held a heart, the human heart of a four year old little girl.
Little heart, beat. Little heart, live. Grow and smile and meet new people. Sound out words, graduate from kindergarten, and draw a flower for your Momma. Little heart, hold hands with your BFF, kiss your aunt when she comes to visit. Little heart, open Christmas presents, play with neighbors, and learn to ride a bike. Little heart, hug your Daddy’s neck and throw a tennis ball to your puppy. Little heart, beat, please beat.
No one wants to speak of the gone wrong.
“Be positive. Focus on the good.” Hide in humor, watch TV, focus on number one, purchase therapy and live. COEXIST.
My favorite novel of all time is Les Miserables. I hate the setting of the dirty streets during the French Revolution, therefore setting the perfect scene for “The Miserable.” Oh Fantine! Oh miserable Fantine, brokenhearted, abandoned by your love, never able to mother your child, raped, and dying in starving agony. What do positive thoughts have to offer to Fantine. Fantine is real! She is the modern day Syrian refugee running for her life, she is the Father held captive awaiting his execution in the hands of ISIS, Fantine is the broken hearted wife uncovering her husband’s Ashley Madison account, Fantine is the child leaving his overdosed mother behind in the dirty government housing as he walks on the bus to face the daily cruelty of his peers, Fantine surrounds us! Oh, I have been Fantine!
Oh cruel world! What is our weapon to face you? How do we survive our dreams that can not be and the storms we can not weather? Life has killed the dream.
Oh Allah, where is your extended Jean Valjean hand? Your scales condemn the downtrodden. Hollywood, have your riches given you peace that is beyond understanding? Tell me atheist, what is your hope for the bleeding heart? Is your own heart so wise that you have become your own god? Are you the answer to the broken heart? Or maybe your heart is callused and you just don’t care at all.
My Jesus stepped down from perfection and walked the streets of the rejected, he touched the sick, and he accepted the outcast. He is the only God that steps down from his power and serves the hurting. He is the only God that pursues me! He is the only God that does not ask me to earn my salvation, he offers me a world beyond this hurt and the price is paid.
A man, unscrubbed and unapproved, entered the room. He took the unbeating heart from the hands of this world and it began to beat. There was nothing worldly wisdom could do, in all our riches and all our knowledge, the heart was dead. Jesus took the heart of the child and she was alive. But even more than her, MY heart was unbroken.
Instant bad mood. I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed. The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs. Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm. The pain of waking up. In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep. (That is if we sleep in heaven.)
My world runs about me in fast forward. Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home. Why do I join the insanity of the crowd? I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here. We are all consumed with what does not matter.
Now. What we want is now. The admiring stares of those we don’t know. Now. The praise of what drives us around. Now. Winners of the race. Packed pantries to overflowing. Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet. Fancy modern restaurants. Everything that our neighbors have. Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.
But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.
Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind. Hey, I can respect that. He likes to chose his words so that other people listen. He doesn’t just fit into the crowd. I respect that also. But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train. When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell. Heaven has got to be boring.” I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”
Heaven is better than being a billionaire. There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold. Heaven is better than pornography! THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED! And it will be a good thing! No one will be embarrassed! (There will be no sin in heaven. Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin. The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.) Heaven is better than Hawaii. All the food will be paid in full! Heaven is better than Christmas! That baby Jesus, he will be with us! It doesn’t sound boring to me!
And what will not be in heaven? Babies without mommies. Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals. There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken. What have you been through? What hurts? What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!” God will end it. He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.
“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.” Tim Keller.
So, look at this world. Read the Bible. Take a look at what is good in this world. LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES! SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL! Get ready. It is going to be the best party of all of eternity. Don’t throw away your invitation.
This article was published in my book, Beautiful Life with Cancer, Hope During the Hard Times in December 2014.
As I lay down in my bed, I am out. I almost always hit the pillow and it takes me about three minutes and I am asleep. Often times, parents of little babies and young children teach them bedtime by setting a routine. Baby gets a bath, read to them, sing one song, and hugs and kisses. Well, (you can call me weird but I already know that) but I believe I have done this with myself. Ofcourse I have the getting ready process. I will spare you that. It is not as simple and soothing as the baby’s routine. But I hit the pillow and I start running a list through my head. My two most popular lists: 1. What are the decoration changes that I want to make to my house? 2. What would I change about myself? Fifteen. No fourteen. There are fourteen things I would change.
1. I wish my hair was a little thicker. 2. No contacts. Perfect vision would be nice. 3. No scars around my neck. 4. No itchy back. That is right. No itchy back. See…I am the lucky one million billion that has a rare condition within a rare condition of MEN2A in which my body deposits protein on the top of my back. It drives me insane! It itches all the time. All the time! Almost daily, I scratch it until it bleeds. I have done this since I was a baby. I wish I did not have that. 5. Stronger arms. I work on it. I do. I go to the gym when I can and lift weights or as of now, or recently, I have been trying Yoga. But I’ve been a little weak lately so I don’t push it by going to the gym. So, I wish I wash’t sick. Wish I could go to the gym. And wish I had stronger arms. 6. No scars on my stomach. 7. No stretch marks. Nah. I look at those and wish they weren’t there and then I remember why I have them. Actually, call me crazy, I’ll keep those. Worth the memory. So, 7. Thinner legs. (Reinsert gym explanation here and add to it that I do not eat sugar. Ok. Yes, I do eat fruit. And yes, I know that carbs turn to sugar in my body. Restate that. I do not eat desserts. Why? There is one reason to eat desserts: They taste good. There are four reasons not to: sugar makes me gain weight, not good for my teeth, makes me, and everyone, sick more often by weakening my immune system, and lowers my energy. Yes, that was absolutely too much to say within parenthesis.) 8. Perfect teeth. I hope you think my teeth look perfect, but the front two have crowns from chipping them on the swimming pool. 9. No veins on my legs. 10. Better singing voice. (If I could insert a clip of me singing here, you would agree.) 11. No scar on the back of my leg. 13. No Addison’s Disease. 14. No cancer.
There is my list. Sure. Everybody has a list. But I do try to be really content with my body, but these are the things that I hate. I really do hate. And about 12 out of 14, at least, are here for life. Nothing I can do about it. About half of these nobody sees. And the other half, I try to hide most of the time. Prime example: You will not find me in any singing group or trying out for American Idol. But, I go to buy life insurance, and I can’t. I go to the doctor for allergies and I have to continue my medication list on the back because it won’t all fit in the lines provided, and then the doctor wants to send me for scans and tests and chat extra long because of my history, but excuse me doctor, I have a sinus infection. But they don’t want to give me anything for that. And then I go to pick up Prednisone at the pharmacy for the one hundredth time in a row and the pharmacist feels the need to tell me that I shouldn’t take so much because of the side effects. Thank you, I know them well. But the alternative isn’t so good. It’s death. And then I read an article in the newspaper in the medical section from a doctor that says no one can survive with both their adrenal glands removed. Well, he should do some research, or I should introduce myself because I am going on ten years now.
I try to find light in my rare condition. It is a little neat when the student intern at Duke is so excited over meeting me and reviewing my case that he can not hide his excited giddiness. It is kinda cool to be able to carry on a medical conversation, using all the right jargon, with friends that are doctors and surgeons, but If I got to pick, I would choose a different claim to fame. What can I really do with, “a really extremely rare form of MEN2A” and always being the exception even within the rules of the disease? Pretty cool to be the exception in the medical handbook or the specialists’ conference? Ehh.
Well, I am asleep by now and I never go through the explanations with myself while I am laying in bed. But if I didn’t have that, I’d be pretty pleased with myself. If I didn’t have all of that, it’d be great to sit up in the morning and be able to see what’s going on without popping in those contacts. And I’d probably join some band, just for the fun of it. And I’d sing to more people than just my seven year old. And my husband. And my sisters. And anyone else I get comfortable with. And anyone else who is around after I’ve had a drink or two. And I’d wear skirts, not just in the summer time when I’m outside, but also when it is a little chilly outside in the Fall to show off my legs. And I would be in and out of the doctor’s office with my sinus infection medicine. And I wouldn’t always scratch my damn back. And who knows? Maybe I would be a whole lot less content. And maybe I would have less joy. And maybe I wouldn’t appreciate my family and the days that I’ve got. Because it isn’t really myself that makes me happy anyway. So, ehh, I’ll just keep it all. So, I am oh so sorry. Please exude my oh so messed up body. That’s just me.
Caroline is published! I have entered my novel into a contest and for a short time you can download it for the low cost of FREE! Please click on the link below to read the book Spiritual Flesh and Blood for free, which also gives me one vote when you download. THANK YOU!
All readers gather here. To the Momma late at night, propped up on her pillow and promising herself just one more page. To the college student that is cramming for class because she could not peel away the romance novel. I am writing this to the man sitting in his car flipping the pages that needs to go into work.
I hate to give away my personal love life details, but here it is. James and I fight sometimes. I know, I know, but it is true. And maybe, just possibly, we had a little bit of one yesterday. But do you see that I said yesterday? As the day ended, I was at his side holding his hand and I thought, “If I would have known this morning, this is how it ended…”
Well, I think that a lot. HOW DOES IT ALL END? Does he get the girl? Does the army invade? Is there a baby in the future? Who wins the election? What’s she going to grow up to be? Do they ever find out? What does she decide?
Well, I’m not giving any spoiler alerts here. Click on the link below. Chose your method of reading and enjoy a free, yes free, book on me. Then get back to me and let me know what you think of the ending! http://freeditorial.com/en/books/spiritual-flesh-and-blood
Having one daughter, five sisters, six nieces, two sisters in laws, and a partridge in a pear tree, I often use the phrase, “my girls.” I love my girls!
Well, August was a great month! All in one month, I gained two girls! My brother married a gorgeous bride and now I have a new sister. He made an amazing choice of a bride and now I claim the gorgeous, dark skinned (that I am so jealous of!), center of attention that has a magnetic personality that is kind, making best friends every where she goes kind of girl. She is now my SISTER!!!
There is a beautiful lady that I have known from a baby. It is hard to believe that her long, absolutely perfect, blonde hair was dark and curly as a chubby little baby. She, literally, has the kindest heart that I have ever met. Her heart and her hands are in constant service of others. While she is studying for a special needs degree in college, I am thrilled to have her living in my home! What an amazing role model for my eight year old! I have grand plans of turning her into a coffee drinker. We are two peas in one pod – The girl color coordinated her hanging up clothes, I do believe we will get along just fine!
I LOVE MY GIRLS!
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are made for.” – John A. Shedd
Lord, for all my girls, I want to be a light that guides them on the ocean. I want to be a lighthouse to bring them to safety. But Lord, never let me get in the way of your plan! Never let me keep them in harbor when they are needed at sea.
God has an amazing plan for my girls! He built them strong and for a grand purpose. The waves are sure to grow rough, the sun will be blazing hot, and the hurricane winds will blow at their sails. But there will be gorgeous sunsets, they will meet others on the sea, and they will travel far distances. My girls are setting sail and they are sure to change this world!
The wheelchair carried me to the front of the hospital, down the elevator, and out to the parking lot for my husband to pick US up. I was not injured. I did not have surgery or any other procedure. I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. I was holding my little miracle in my arms and about to take her home for the first time. I snuggled her warm soft body closer to mine and I kissed the softest cheeks ever born. Just like that, life was living and breathing and growing up in my little Florida home.
The miracle of life. Scientifically explain it to me, and it makes me praise God. He knows and designed life from conception to the imbillical cord, the labor process, and into the arms of Mommy and Daddy. Science is the study of God’s Creation.
We had been on summer break for two weeks. It was the first day of break that all the plans happened at home. Laundry was piled up, a lunch picnic would not go beyond our backyard, summer reading, mopping, a day to catch up and prepare. AND JUST LIKE THAT, A MIRACLE. I got a message.
I got a message from my brother, followed by tons of pictures and family comments. Adeline was born and I love her. I can smell her newborn baby perfection and I adore her little fingers that she has not yet learned to control. And today is the day that we make the trip, that is much too far, but today I will see and I will praise God for a miracle that he has planned for since the beginning of time.
Very tall for her age, even taller than her twin sister. She was long and lean, blonde and breautiful, and just as clumsy with her grace as any other fourth grader should be. My fourth grade students were still babies, but I could see in their achievements (they were impressive) that they would be teenagers tomorrow.
But for now, I soaked up their current love for their teacher (me), I fed off of their enthusiasm for learning, and I was blown away with their profound statements and questions.
She raised her long arm. It was, with the rest of her body, jumping up and down in her desk from excitement. Her fingers twisted and turned through the air. She had something to say.
I paused at the right time during my lecture (yes, I said during my lecture. Please note this was lecture and note taking time)….I paused during my lecture and smiled at Laura and nodded my head for her to go ahead with her question or comment. She proceeded with the attention of the whole class:
I (she pointed to herself)
Heart (her fingers formed a heart in front of her own)
Science (and she spread her arms out pointing and displaying the lecture notes that still covered the board)
She loved to learn. What a gift! What a blessing! It was learning that she was in love with, hard lecture notes at such a young age, but something had clicked and she could not contain the excitement and the joy she found in new knowledge.
I believe that when we learn truth, we learn about Jesus. I believe that Science is the study of God’s creation. I believe that school should be hard work and not always fun, but at the end of the day the kids should beam with excitement from their new found treasure. Knowledge.
And now I am not a teacher anymore in a classroom. I AM A MOMMY! And it is summer break and Madison Academy is in full force. We have a list of classic books to read. We are going to conquer labeling all 50 states (she can label 30), by Fall, we will be able to list all the American presidents in order, our nature notebook will be full of sketches and information about plants in our neighborhood, and Daddy is going to teach the fundamentals of basketball.
And this is where I want to thank Laura’s parents. Because I believe that love of learning begins at home. Yes! A teacher can spark this or squash it. But almost always, I believe children, like Laura, come from homes where learning prospers and runs wild and covers the smiles of the whole family learning together.
So, I take my daughter’s hand and I have the PRIVILIDGE of learning alongside her (trust me, I am learning also!) I have the joy of picking, “What do I want my girl to know?” And then teaching her!
There will be late cookouts. She will have cousins spend the night and sleep in late. We will spend entire days playing at the pool. But perhaps learning just as much as in the classroom (or dare I say possibly more?) I now say with confidence, SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!
I want answers. I want to know what to do to be healthy, make money, raise a successful citizen, be a stellar friend, and how clean my house should be!
When I said, “I do.” I really meant I did. But sometimes, more often than I want you to know, I looked more like I didn’t. I was, am, grumpy, rude, self serving, and just plain done. But I loved him. I still do.
And when the nurse laid that 7lb 9oz miracle on my instantly smaller tummy, I cried and smiled and instantly changed, because she was everything, and meaningful, and poetic, and beautiful, and soft as beautiful. But sometimes, more than I want you to know, I get frustrated with a messy room, and stepping on pink Legos, and a sassy attitude. But I love her. I always will, even through the teenage years.
When should I scrub and when should I play? How many cups of milk should I drink in a day? Should I sit on the couch and watch a show with James or read “Bringing Up Girls,” that should have been checked off my reading list six years ago? Should I call up a friend or spend the day at home? Is this the year to save or enjoy? A bush or a floral beside the house? When and how and where? Why?
Daddy, Father God, will you please tell me?
Because it matters completely. I want to do and accomplish. But I have made mistakes. And I hear you whisper that yesterday does not matter. Right here. Right now. This very.
One thing is the objective: accomplish, do, succeed, but the greatest of these is love. Love.
Energized by the crowd, he shook to loosen his muscles, stretched his arms across his body, and then lifted them and waved. The people cheered and sent him on his way. The sun warmed his body, skin exposed in his summer attire. He felt as if he could run forever, like he had wings carrying him along the way. Those he passed waved and called him out by name. He ran and ran and ran.
The day got long and his legs began to ache. It was time for a break. Pushing his body, he jogged to the next street and then found a nice restaurant. The staff was friendly, delivering his cuisine with a smile and with kind comments of wander and amazement of his successes. His waitress was pretty and she smiled long smiles and laughed at appropriate times. “You are so big and strong. But I think it would help if you would take some food with you.” So she packed him a bag of food and sent him on his way.
Carrying the bag of food in one hand, he continued on his travels. Running and then eventually slowing his pace to a jog. On and on down the dirt road. The area was not as populated now. He jogged past cornfields and he jogged past fruit groves. But there was a pain in his calves he could ignore no longer. He jogged and jogged and jogged and carried his bag of food.
He needed a place to sleep and finally he came upon a barn. Calling out, a gruff voice answered, “Who is there?” He did not sound so kind but upon explaining his journey he responded, “This once, I will allow you but take this sleeping bag with you on your travels, you should not be trespassing on private property.” He thanked him and laid down to rest his body. With the sun going down, he laid down on the hay. With the call of the rooster, he awoke with a jerk. He did not mean to sleep this long. He must continue on his journey. So he stood and stretched his aching body. He carried his bag of food in one hand and his sleeping bag in the other hand and he walked and walked and walked.
There was not a part of his body that did not call out for relief. His feet were blistered from his old shoes, stomach achy from improper nutrition, back sore from lack of a comfortable night’s rest, and his very skin was red from the sun that shone down and mocked him. The hardest part of his journey set in his path, he tried not to think of the tall mountain, it seemed impossible, he just put one foot in front of the other and continued on his way.
Needing rest, there was none to be found and soon he found himself at the foot of the mountain. Looking up, he could not see the top. There was only one thing to be done, his arms hung by his side, each clutching their materials and one foot at a time, he continued on his journey. He climbed and climbed and climbed.
The air grew thinner and he soon found that he was lacking in clothing. Chills formed on his legs and arms. The wind began to blow and pushed against him. He tried to cover himself with the sleeping bag. Clutching the ends and pulling them up around his chin, he continued. His bare, scrawny legs dangling out and shaking from exhaustion and cold.
Nothing filled his mind, nothing sang, nothing laughed, nothing smiled. The journey. He pressed on and on and on, pushing into the cold, bitter wind, fighting the physical pains of his body and ignoring his lack of company. He suffered and suffered and suffered.
In the distance, something glowed. It became the focus of his mind. He pushed and pushed and pushed. One step, then another, then another. He lost track of time. He did not know how long his journey had lasted, but one more step he must take. His body fought back hard and his will pushed him another step until he collapsed in front of the glow that had grown until, in his last recollection, he realized it was coming from a fire, shinning through a window, placed in a large house. And he collapsed at the door.
The shock of hospitality. Taken inside from the now snowy woods was instant relief. To rest in front of the glowing fire brought more than he had hoped for. The offer of a hot bath was more than he could comprehend. The hot dinner that was placed before him was more than he could put into words. And the invitation of staying in the plush bed finally brought tears to his eyes. He had reached his destination. His son climbed up into his lap and hugged his neck. His wife stared into his eyes and made him promise never to leave them ever again. He had found what he had been searching for: home.