The Package

A note falls out: “I saw these and thought of you.”

Dixil Rodriguez

It’s 5:00 p.m., and I have the privilege to visit with a sweet little girl, Mandy, 5 years old. She has completed treatment, and after a long day of exams Mandy has been labeled “in remission.” I think of Mandy and smile: Mandy, who has a memorable laugh and always asks for hugs from the nurses. She is the happiest patient I have met.

I open my front door and grab my umbrella. Out of the corner of my eye I see a scarf hanging from a peg next to the door, a gift from my mother. I take it and wrap it around my neck.

I carry a teddy bear to Room 405. Mandy’s mother is putting socks on Mandy’s little feet. Mandy jumps off the bed and gives me a tight hug. I hand her the teddy bear. Her eyes light up. She takes a Band-Aid from a first-aid kit, placing it on the bear’s right arm. She explains: “This is ‘Happy Bear.’ Even with a Band-Aid he knows it will be OK, and he is happy!” She laughs.

Back on her bed, Mandy is talking to the teddy bear, explaining that they are both getting out of there today. I speak to Mandy’s mom as we wait for the doctor to discharge her. There is joy in the room. Our heavenly Father will keep Mandy in His arms, safe.

The doctor arrives, chart in hand to speak with the parents while I listen to Mandy. There are goldfish, bunnies, and flowers she needs to tend at home. She will play dolls with her sister. I hear the happy moments she anticipates and realize I need to do that more: focus on God’s gift of life and care.

An orderly arrives with a wheelchair: “Time to go home, little one.”

As I help Mandy into the wheelchair she touches my scarf. It’s the softest fabric she has touched. I take my scarf off and tie it around her neck. “Here you go.” She gently touches the scarf to her cheek.

She smiles, hugs me, and whispers: “I didn’t have a scarf; now I do.”

I watch them drive away and among tears blow a kiss at Mandy.

As I run through the rain to collect my mail, my neighbor calls to me from her porch. Mail was delivered early, and the carrier left a package at my door. She picked it up so it wouldn’t get wet. I glance at the sender’s name: Carolyn Sutton. Carolyn? I have written short pieces for the women’s devotional she works on. I have never met her in person, but she has become a dear friend. We e-mail, share prayer requests, and share ongoing events in our life.

In my room I open the package. A note falls out: “I saw these and thought of you.” I look into the package. Inside, carefully folded, are two beautiful scarfs.

I touch the scarves, hold them to my face. It is the softest, sweetest material. I had one scarf and I gave it away today. Before I needed it, God had planned for two to be waiting at my doorstep.

I imagine Carolyn, picking out the scarfs, a smile on her face. Taking the time to write a note, mail the package. The perfect timing of having the scarf arrive today. Today! I think of our constant prayer requests, our shared e-mails. My heart is filled with gratitude and enormous marvel at the events.

The Holy Spirit, inspiring my dear friend to send these to me. I didn’t have a scarf, now I have two. The Holy Spirit at work on the heart of my sweet friend Carolyn, a careful listener to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. I believe she would say to me: “This package was meant to be shared.”

Today the Holy Spirit was present in Mandy’s room. Days earlier the Holy Spirit inspired Carolyn to send these and let them arrive today. I hold the scarfs to my face and say a prayer of gratitude.

Dixil Rodríguez, a university professor and volunteer chaplain, lives in Texas.