Saturday, October 29, 2011

Remembering to say thank you

I wrote about my varicose vein surgery back when it happened.

But in so doing, I neglected to mention the most amazing part.

I did mention that I was afraid of the anesthesia, but I did not explain how afraid I was.

I was so afraid that I did not sleep for a week before the procedure. This no doubt was part of my excuse for going to pieces and weeping during my admission process. I was exhausted.

During the week before the surgery, the week when I was not sleeping, I had to do a little marching band fund-raising for Jonathan. I don't know if I have ever mentioned how much I hate and despise fund-raising. But I do. And there I was, an exhausted, frightened woman, looking down the pike at vein surgery, trying to focus on the day-to-day, and the day-to-day was fund raising. Ugh.

One of my tasks was to try to sell a print ad to a local jewelry store. This ad would appear in the program for the band show that our school was hosting. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about trying to sell an ad to a jewelry store.

It was October, so I decided, "I will go into the store and buy something for one of my girls, for a birthday gift. And after I have made the purchase, I will ask if they will buy an ad."

So I went into the store and looked at jewelry pieces, and a nice woman helped me. She was medium height, medium build, short brown hair (more stylish than mine) and nicely dressed (as you would expect of an employee in a jewelry store). She was just a really nice person.

At some point a dam broke and I gushed out my life's story, about how tired I was because I was not sleeping because I had surgery coming up and I was so, so scared. Even as I spilled my guts, I was embarrassed and ashamed. But she looked at me sympathetically and said, "What is your name? I would like to pray for you. I'll pray for you, that God will help you get through this."

Just like that.

I didn't even know what to say, so I just said, "Ruth." I didn't tell her that I was a sister in Christ, or that God had certainly put her in my path that day because He knew I needed a touch from Him, or that my heart was overflowing with gratitude. I just told her my name was Ruth, and I bought a necklace for Shannon, and I halfheartedly offered to sell her an ad but waved it away in relief when she apologetically told me that the store owner wasn't buying many ads in the present economy.

I walked out to my car full of wonder.

And then, on the day of the surgery, when I had been admitted and had stripped down to a hospital gown and was getting prepped by my nurse, the nurse pulled out a big questionnaire. As she went down through the questions, she hit one that asked, "Do you have a particular religious affiliation?"

I scrunched up my face and asked, "What do you mean by that?"

She was of medium height, medium build, short brown hair. Her hair was sandy textured, and she had a few freckles, I think, and a cute little nose that turned up just a tad. In her pale surgical-green scrubs, she looked full of kindness.

I don't even remember what I said, but all of a sudden we were having this great chat, and she was a Baptist, too, with a brother who is a pastor in the Adirondacks or Albany or somewhere. She said, "We're all born-again here!" And even though I was so afraid of the procedure, she assured me that God would be with me and that it would be OK. It was so amazing and surreal, I can't even remember the particulars, just this incredible sense of relief and astonishment that God would reach out to me like that, at a time like that, and let me know how near He was.

And then I never even told anybody about these things. I don't even know why. But I am telling now, because God deserves to be bragged on.

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