by Kari Diane Pike
When I noticed that there was already a post for today, I figured I was off the hook. I've been in Tucson all week helping a daughter with her busy family while she recovers from the birth of her sixth child. I forget just how physically demanding it is to be the mother of young children. I looked forward to getting to bed early tonight after a busy day of laundry, dishes, cooking, wiping noses and behinds, walking kids to the bus, walking kids home from the bus, distracting toddlers from destroying an older sibling's homework, cooking, wiping more noses, playing at the park, cooking, cleaning the kitchen, family scriptures and prayers, and finally getting everyone tucked into bed. Thank goodness all the hugs and kisses and "I wuv you's" inspire more energy than a bottle of Red Bull!
But something happened last week that has me reflecting on life challenges and how grateful I am for knowing who I am, why I am here and that everything I experience has a purpose. I mentioned four weeks ago that I have a close friend who is battling acute myelogenous leukemia. I was with this friend when she got the diagnosis. I could tell the situation was serious by the look on the doctor's face and the tone of his voice as he said, "Good luck" when we headed out of his office. Last week, "Sarah" developed a complication that became an immediate threat to her life. While the medical professionals worked out a plan and procedure to help her, I packed up my computer and prepared to camp out in Sarah's room. The one thing I could do to help her was to go fasting and praying. This was definitely in the Lord's hands now. When I arrived, Sarah seemed a little more calm. She told me that her doctor had knelt by her bed and said a prayer, asking God to help him know how to fix the problem so that she could get better and go back home and be a grandma to her little granddaughters. She said it helped her feel more comfortable.
A few hours later, Sarah told me I should go get some lunch. I told her I was fine. I was working on my research paper and I didn't want to leave her alone. She wouldn't take no for an answer. I finally explained the concept of fasting and prayer. She said, "You would do that, just for me?" as if she was saying she wasn't worth the effort.
Fast forward through a long day of waiting -- the procedure went "perfectly." The doctor said it couldn't have gone any better. We laughed and I did the happy dance as I walked beside Sarah's gurney on the trip from recovery back to Sarah's room. She was still loopy from the anesthesia, which made us laugh all the more. Sarah sat up on the gurney to move over to her bed. Her silence caught my attention first. Then the look of utter despair on her face lead me to look at the pillow beneath her hand. Not five minutes earlier, that pillow was clean. Now, it was covered with Sarah's beautiful ebony hair. Sarah avoided my gaze. She kept touching the pillow and then reaching up and running her fingers through her hair and watching hundreds of strands stick to her fingers. She reached out and watched the hair float to the floor.Tears rolled down her cheeks. I said, "I'm sorry." She looked at me finally, and said, "I don't want to talk about it. I just want to get some sleep."
After I left the room and drove home, the look on Sarah's face haunted me all night. When my cell phone showed her calling me early the next morning, I braced myself. I prayed I would know the right things to say to help bring her comfort and peace of mind. When I said hello, Sarah surprised me with an energetic,"Good morning, Sunshine! I had to call and tell you I feel soooo much better! And I have to tell you about the break through I had in the mirror."
"You broke the mirror?"
"Ha ha! No! I had a break through. I was looking in the mirror and then the weirdest thing happened. It felt so weird...but it was a good weird. And then in the mirror, all I could see was the doctor kneeling by my bed and praying for me and I remembered the strange feeling in the room all day while you were here and how it was a good weird feeling. Did I say I felt weird? But I remembered how it felt good, too, and all of a sudden I really felt for the first time in my entire life -- something I have never, ever felt before -- and that is that God really did put me here for a reason. He put me here for something and even if that reason is to just be a grandma to my granddaughters, then that is worth fighting for. I am going to kick cancer's butt and get out of here. God put me here for a reason. I have never known that at any time in my life before.I feel the strength to keep fighting - and that I have a reason to fight."
A few week's ago, I complained a bit about how I'm all for lifelong learning, but that there are things I wished I didn't have to know -- like what it means when the doctor tells your friend she has A.M.L. Now, while I would rather these kinds of things didn't happen, I have a renewed gratitude for many things I now realize I have been taking for granted -- like knowing that God put me on this earth for a purpose; that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who knows me, individually, and loves me and wants me to return to Him someday. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He suffered, bled and died for me. I also know that He was resurrected and lives again and that He paved the way for all mankind to do the same. I know that I am part of an eternal family unit and that I am never alone in my trials. The Holy Spirit guides and protects me and angels watch over me. I have more gratitude for the power of prayer and knowing that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. Along with more gratitude, my prayers have become more meaningful and more fervent. And I know that because of the Atonement of Christ, no matter what happens, everything will be okay.