Sarah's Story~ Part Four
I have been sharing Sarah's Story. This is the fourth installment, and I hope to finish here. But I can't promise that there won't be a postscript. You know there will be. :) If you have not been following and you wish to, I'm posting the links to the first three parts: Sarah's Story~ part one, part two, and part three. The writing of what happened has been so easy for me up until this point. But now, I feel at a loss. I can't seem to tell you how I felt or what I thought while Sarah was in surgery. I don't even know where to begin. I've erased the words and started over more times than I can count. Perhaps I'll just have to skip over that part and move along. It reminds me of a time many, many years ago when I was still at my home church in Maryland. A road sign was needed to point people in the direction of the church. We had a great location just off the main road, but the church property was tucked right around the corner from that main road and folks often missed it.
And so there was need of a road sign to go up on the corner of German Hill and Manchester Roads. I was asked to do the art work for the sign. Our church theme at the time was 'From the Cross, Through the Church, To the World.' It may still be their theme today. I know it is still their heart. It was clear to me what they were looking for. The cross with Jesus on it, the church building, and the world, and then a red arrow that swirled throughout the three. Easy, right? Well, the church and the world were easy. The cross and the swirly red arrow connecting the three were fine. But I have a thing about Jesus depicted on the cross in the first place. I prefer my crosses empty. Maybe I'll write why someday. But I'm nothing if not obedient to the powers that be, and I was not asked my opinion. I was just told that was the way it should be. And so I tried. I tried my very best. I painted Jesus on that cross over and over and over again. But it never seemed right, so I would paint over it with white and begin again. I was never satisfied. I could never let it be. It always seemed so inadequate. After a while the paint got thicker in the area of that cross. I was feeling some pressure from Pastor. He really wanted that sign up before Sunday. When could I get it finished? Now, he loved me and he wouldn't have been upset with me had I not finished. But by this point I knew that I just couldn't do it. I couldn't paint Jesus. I couldn't even draw Him. I was in sacred territory where I did not belong. This thing was too wonderful for me. I wish I could explain it. But I couldn't do it. So I painted Jesus as a gray shadowy figure and let it go at that. It wasn't Jesus. I couldn't draw or paint Him. And the sign went up like that on Saturday evening. And so, writing now, it's like that. There are no words for the time that Sarah was in surgery just like there were no brushstrokes for me to depict Jesus. I just don't have it in me. I will tell you that the surgery was to be three or four hours-- maybe more, depending on what they found. Surgery had begun at eight o'clock PM. I couldn't decide if longer surgery would be better news or worse. I just didn't know what to think about any of it. There was silence. Silent, desperate prayer. Prayer with few words and a helpless dependence on God. Remembering it now, I think of how much a prayer closet would have helped. An ability to be on my face before God, instead of just sitting there like I was waiting for a train. But I do remember telling the Lord that our time for a miracle was drawing to a close. Like He needed my reminder. We sat in the waiting area. There were few people there because surgeries for the day were winding down and it was getting late. I remember thinking that I hoped that the doctor had had a chance to get a nap. We had seen him early that morning and I knew he must be tired. I needed him to be at his best. He was performing the most important surgery of his career. Then, sometime around nine-thirty something amazing happened. Doors opened and a man with a huge presence emerged from somewhere else. He loomed large and took but a moment to spot us and move in our direction. The surgical mask still covered his nose and mouth, and all that I could see of his face were his eyes. He was walking so quickly and forcefully that it almost seemed fearful. Perhaps I would have been afraid, had I not noticed his eyes. Dr. Boice's eyes were huge and moist and filled with joy and excitement. And I knew before he reached us. He was removing the mask as he rushed toward us. But there was no need for him to speak. I already knew. But he did speak. "No cancer. NO CANCER! It's just not there!!!" And then I did what anyone who knows me well would know that I would do. I threw myself into his arms and told him that I loved him. I'm not kidding-- that's what I did. Poor man. More words spilled out with excitement. The doctors who were working under him had begun the surgery. I'll spare you the details. But at some point a young doctor doing the prep work called for him with great excitement. "Is this what I think it is?", she asked him in amazement. Yes. Yes indeed. This is a young woman who is without cancer in her body. And we have seen a miracle! The next few minutes are a whirl in my memory. Dr. Boice was finished. His young doctors would do the rest and close her up. He would arrange for me to be called back into recovery as soon as they were finished. We would talk tomorrow. At 10:15 PM I was allowed into the recovery room. I feel today that my presence there must have been against some kind of hospital law. I know for sure that I was violating lots of people's right to privacy. But none of that mattered. I was received by the nurses and staff as though I were royalty. I was the Miracle Girl's mom! The recovery room is a very noisy place. I would have thought it would be more quiet. The head nurse was continually barking orders and treating the other nurses as though they were imbeciles. I definitely would not have wanted her to be my boss. But I was not under her capable command. I was the miracle girl's momma. And she shouted it loudly, every time she got near us. "A miracle! I can't believe it! I got to see a miracle tonight. A real miracle!" The others said that, too. Lots of hugs from strangers that night. And all I could say was to tell them how good the Lord is. How very, very good and sweet that He is to me! Because I got to be the miracle girl's mom! None of this had anything at all to do with me. I believe with all of my heart that our happy ending was decided when Sarah responded the way that she did to the news. And not even then-- the test was for Sarah and for our family. And for God's glory. God already knew, and the outcome had been determined throughout all of eternity past. For my God knows all things, and nothing ever takes Him by surprise. I've told you before, testings are for us, not Him. He already knows what our response will be. But we have great need to learn of it. This last installment has been incredibly difficult to write, and surprisingly so. The words that are usually my friends fail me at the marvel of it all. The difficult part came easily, but the amazingly happy ending so very difficult to write. Because there are no words for this. Psalms 139:6 - "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." That's it! That's the verse. I'm going to have to go back and make it bigger, and pray that you can understand. The Lord is so very good and sweet to me, and I love Him so very much! What a mighty God we serve!!!