Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Angels Among Us

"When life held troubled times,
And I was down on my knees,
There's always been someone
Who's come along to comfort me,
The kind words of a stranger
To lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend
Just to say, "I understand"
And ain't it kinda funny,
At the long end of the road,
Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope."

--Alabama


It was one of the darkest times in my life. My doctor had discovered a bleeding lesion in the temporal, parietal region of my brain. MRI's, arteriograms, CT scans, EEG's were all performed, but its origin and cause remained a mystery. The next step was a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where I would meet with both a neurologist and neurosurgeon.

I was a single mother then; my two children were 10 and 8 years old. I was scared and uncertain of the future for us all and wanted only to be well and free from worry. I had no family living near, though felt comforted by the support and concern of dear friends in our community. I had just begun dating a gentleman who took a week away from his job to accompany me on the trip to Minnesota. I remember the evening I left my children at my parents' house; my precious little boy running down the sidewalk, alongside the car as we drove away, and how I watched from my rearview mirror as he stood solemnly on the corner and waved until I was out of sight. The feelings of absolute terror and fear of the unknown are still vivid, and that picture of my son stays fresh in my mind, clutching at my heart.

I had gone to the bank and taken out a second mortgage on my house, hoping the new loan would help cover some of my traveling and medical expenses; clearly not the best answer, but a temporary solution in my quest for answers. A few days before I was to leave, one of my friends from church came to our house with a bulky envelope in her hand. The choir, which I was a part of, had taken up an offering to help with my expenses. One person, she said, had given a substantial amount, but had asked her for anonymity. She hugged me tightly before she left and I sat down to open the contents of the envelope. There in my hands I counted $2600; an unconditional, loving gift from Christian hearts disguised as a tangible blessing. I wept from sheer relief and overwhelming gratitude.

Because of this gift I was able to call home each night, talk to my children and sing them a bedtime song before they went to sleep. Because of this gift I was able to afford accomodations for a week's stay in an unfamiliar town while meeting with doctors. Because of this gift I was able to concentrate on my health and not on the expense. Because of this gift I was able to pay my medical expenses and not suffer financial devastation. Because of this gift, I am a better human being.

The specialists never figured out what was wrong with me. After many hours of waiting, worrying and discussion, their recommendation was for me to have annual MRI's and to watch for any neurological changes. It has been five years and so far, so good. Perhaps I still have a time bomb ticking away inside my head, waiting for eruption. Or perhaps the power of prayer, positive thinking and love has overcome whatever mystery this was.

And as for the anonymous donor, he too, remains a mystery. Sometimes I speculate and wonder who it could have been. Mostly, I respect his privacy and am all right with not knowing. But every year at Christmas time, I send a card through my friend at church, and she delivers it to my unknown angel. In it I tell him how my life is going, share my joys and once again, thank him for the incredible gift he gave me those five years ago. Through that generous and unselfish love, he restored my hope and passed a torch of human kindness that shall never be forgotten.

May God bless my unspoken angel this Christmas.....and for the New Year ahead.

P.S. The man who accompanied me to MN, sat for hours in the waiting room and helped relieve my worries is now my husband.

7 comments:

McSwain said...

What a wonderful story! I know from personal experience how very scary it is to be a single parent and facing uncertain health issues. The gift from your church is Christianity as it should function. I love that you send a card every year... and I will pray for continued health and blessings for you and your family.

martie said...

This story has a very special message particularly at this time of year. What a wonderful blessing you received and what a blessing it must be for the one who donated the substantial amount to receive a card and an update from you every year. I, for one, am thankful that things turned out so well for you and hope and pray that you have many years of good health and much happiness with the "man" who stood by you in this terribly scary situation.

God Bless you both and your families! Happy Holidays

Michael said...

Inspirational story. Very nice to read good stories about good people! Too little of those these days!

I remember talking to you about your visit to Mayo Clinic. I am glad you havent had any brain related issues since that visit!

Take care
Mike

Pete Mitchell said...

It is so difficult to cast your mind back to life's dark times. To do so in order to show others that no matter what, we are never truly alone spiritually or physically is a beautiful, unselfish act. It is the most wonderful, most valuable gift one can give. Thank you for giving us all this gift; particularly at this time of year when we tend to get caught up in the shopping spree and forget that the most valuable gifts don't have a price tag.

clew said...

Isn't it amazing the way God manifests His blessings?

Hugs!

srp said...

What a lovely story and two wonderful people in your life....one who became your husband and one who gave you peace of mind. It is great to hear that you are still doing so well. God never said we would not have trials, but He said he would go with us through them, often carrying us when it is too much for us to understand or bear.

Thank you, I needed this.

Jacqueline said...

Hi Lori, thanks a lot for sharing this profoundly moving and touching, yet so personal period of your life – it brought tears to my eyes, feeling your initial fear and despair, then tears of joy when everything turned out very well for you. Your bravery and strength in facing your trials with blessings from your Christian community and your date who stood by you through thick and thin and your deep gratitude for your donor speaks volume of the wonderful person that you are. Keep counting your blessings and share :) Your beautiful post is a testament of God’s boundless and unconditional love! May God bless and keep you and your family in good health always.