March 10, 2014

Searching the Obvious

Three hours have passed. I remember the words: Do not be afraid; just believe. Yet I am truly afraid.

* * *

I walk into the pediatrics facility. Tomorrow is Laurie’s surgery. She’s only 6.Treatment has shrunk her brain tumor, and surgeons will remove it tomorrow. As I open the building’s door I remember conversing with Laurie’s father. While Laurie sleeps, he reads the Bible. He found the story in which Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter.

“Jesus told them not to be afraid, but to believe,” he said. “We trust in God’s will.” That night I peeked through Laurie’s bedroom window. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would sustain them, remind them of God’s promises, and bring us grace and humility to stand without fear.

I stop at the nurses’ station. The nurses tell me that Laurie asked for a daisy chain to wear on her head before surgery. I smile. Laurie lives on a farm and loves daisies. Her mother once showed me a picture of Laurie in her father’s arms, laughing, her long hair blowing in the wind, a daisy chain around her head. The treatment has left Laurie with no hair.

A nurse hands me an envelope with directions to a flower shop five miles from the hospital. “Can you help us?” They all pitched in for the daisy chain.

* * *

A little bell announces my entrance into the flower shop. A young woman carrying a bucket of roses greets me. She takes out a small notepad to gather information. A short old man walks toward the counter, looks at me, looks at the notepad, and walks away in an uninterested manner. He returns with two buckets of daisies, places them on the counter, and walks away.

The young woman quietly apologizes and tells me this is her father’s shop. He is ill. She has inherited responsibilities as well as the flower shop.

She asks for the measurement for the daisy chain and comments on how “unusual” this request is. I hand her a piece of paper just as her father returns to the counter. The woman looks at the paper, then at me, then at her father. She just realized how small the measurements are. The look on the old man’s face softens. He begins working through the daisy buckets as he talks: “For the perfect daisy chain, select the ones that will not break easily; and beautiful ones that have all their tiny petals. Always have two chains braided together. They are fragile.” A pause. “Is she fragile too?”


* * *

I stand outside the room, listening to Laurie’s laughter as nurses help with the daisy chain. Tomorrow the daisy chain will no longer be on her head: Do not be afraid; just believe. Profound words. Our Savior is right here, right now, helping the surgeons prepare, managing every little detail.

Do not be afraid; just believe. I sit with Laurie’s parents in the waiting area. Three hours and 20 minutes have gone by. Dear God, let me believe. Take my fear away.

* * *

Two days have passed. Laurie is recovering from a successful surgery. As I walk into the room I see daisy chains on the window, on the base of her bed, and in beautiful arrangements on the tables. Laurie’s mom says a father/daughter team decorated the room while Laurie slept. They said they would return to change the flowers as needed.

What a beautiful gift. From a small piece of paper, the Holy Spirit encouraged the florists to participate in God’s healing work with Laurie.

That we are all fragile is obvious. That we have to help one another more, on small and big things, is often not as obvious. Still, the Holy Spirit puts urgency in our hearts to lend a helping hand, and we must listen.

I sit close to Laurie, take her hand, and ask, “Do you know how to make the perfect daisy chain?”