Sunday, November 17, 2013
Marion, You Changed Me
This past Thursday our cute little 3rd graders had a field trip. I'm ashamed to say that I almost didn't go on this field trip because I have been just too busy. Something tugged at me though and I went.
One of our mom's has started a non-profit called 'Bags of Blessings' at the hospital nearest us. Each child gets a canvas bag and in it goes items to benefit each of the 5 senses of someone during a hospital stay…..add a Bible with unique bookmark made by cute child and you have a gift bag guaranteed to 'bless the socks off' a patient. It's an awesome idea started and sustained by our awesome friends. Our Lil Mei Mei had her bag poised over her tiny shoulders as she entered our local hospital's Cancer Ward. Yep. We were entering the lives of those whose lives had been forever changed by C. I was expectant but yet not really knowing what was yet to come.
I gotta admit….I was giddy with excitement. There's nothing I love more than blessing others who aren't expecting it….AND to make it even better, teaching children to do the same. There's something about taking your daughter whom herself was brought out of abject poverty to minister to someone else experiencing their own degree of lack. You can just 'feel' God at work. But ……we weren't expecting Marion.
The hospital chaplain guided us each into a room….mother with child…or in our case Mother, Mei Mei and her beloved 3rd grade teacher….and we came face to face with Marion. Marion has cancer. She's 80. She's absolutely a precious, humble lady. We introduced ourselves and I encouraged my uber-shy all-of-a-sudden-little-bit-of-a-girl to give her Blessing Bag to Marion. She did. We dissected it to show Marion each gift she could use during her hospital stay. There was perfume, breath mints, granola bars, a blanket. Marion seemed pleased. Mei Mei presented her with the Bible….opened it up to Jeremiah 29:11 which had been highlighted. There in the fold was a bookmark decorated by Mei with yet another scripture to encourage. Then Marion looked at us.
"I've been waiting for you to come all day. I'm so excited you are here, " she stated. She told us a little about herself, her children, her life. She came to Florida from Pennsylvania. Her children are all grown and live in other states. She asked about us. We found out her husband is not well and unable to visit her. He's under home-health care in their retirement community.
"Who is coming to be with you here if your husband can't?" I asked her. Then Marion dropped the bomb.
"No one," she stated simply. "I'm here alone. You have been the first visitors I've had since I've been here. There is no one else. Today, I've been waiting all day for you."
I was undone. Imagine having cancer…being forced to make decisions about your health, not feeling well already, eating, sleeping and existing in hospital setting and being ALL ALONE. I asked her if she was able to read.
"Not much" she said, "Only a little at a time. But I will read this Bible."
"Then you are a person of faith?" I asked her. (We were given boundaries about which we could talk about before we went in.)
"Yes, I am. I sit here each day and wait. I wait with God." was her answer.
I asked her permission to pray for her….I knew we had already passed our time allotment and the rest of our group would be waiting. It was hard to leave Marion.
"Oh yes," she said. "Please pray that God will help me. The pain, there is so much pain. I'm not sure how much I can endure. I need God's help."
We bowed our heads….the four of us. By now I was a puddle. Somehow I got through a prayer…..crying the entire time. Our sweet teacher prayed….in her own puddle. Then…the icing on the cake was when my little Mei Mei layed her hands on this old woman…..and prayed out loud for her. This little daughter whom herself has had to fight for so much. This little girl who was left in a box at the gate of an orphanage……was now praying for an old woman who was more than likely not going to live much longer. Would she die alone? Bold, clear, words based on scripture came from Mei Mei's mouth. Holy, holy ground. God's presence was evident. How do you get up and walk away from this?
"Thank you for coming," said Marion, "Mei Mei, Do you mind if I hug you?"
They hugged. We all hugged one last pausing moment... and walked out the door…..forever changed.
I know Marion is only one. One of millions of orphans and elderly that have no one that go through each day of sickness with no one to help them. I cannot get Marion off my mind. We will be seeing her again….I know it.
Thank you Marion for slowing me down…..for helping me refocus this week on that which is important…….and for helping me see Jesus through you. Thank you Marion for helping me 'get off the train' and redirect my attention to that which enforces my job here on this earth. I am forever changed.