(borrowed picture from some wonderful photographer)
I realize that life can change in the blink of an eye.
Tonight, I was the delivery person. I drove to Publix and picked up fried chicken fingers, mac and cheese, green beans, lots of rolls, and several dozen cookies - along with paper plates, fun polka dot napkins and plastic forks. Why did I do this? It was not for our supper. It was for the parents of kids with cancer. They have a support group that meets with Chaplain Paul at Children's. I think they meet every Thursday night and our Sunday School class, the John Wesley SS class, has delivered meals to this group on the first Thursday night of every month for about 13 years or so. They actually gave a plaque to us because we have done it longer than any other group.
So . . why am I writing about this? Tonight was different. I was a little frazzled. I arrived at Publix a few minutes early . . .and they had sold my pre-ordered chicken fingers to someone else. So they had to cook some more - do you know that it takes 18 minutes to cook chicken fingers? I was supposed to deliver the food by 5:15. I walked out of Publix and it was about 5:00 p.m. Birmingham may not be THAT big of a city but we still have rush hour. Traffic was horrible. As I approached the hospital, I remembered that I had not delivered since the new building opened. I whipped into the drop off zone, hopped out of the car and ran inside. The guy behind the desk had no information about where I was to go. I grabbed a wagon (the very same ones used to pull tiny patients through the hospital) and rolled it out to my car and filled it up. I was still frazzled. I pulled the wagon into the hospital and approached the glass elevators. I asked if the smell of food would bother anyone in the elevator. I was given the go-ahead to get in with the nice folks.
I rushed out of the elevator toward the information desk and told the nice lady (whose face was black and blue - I tried not to stare) why I was there and that I needed her to contact Chaplain Paul for me. Well, lo and behold, he was sitting right there in the lobby with a man and woman. I hauled the wagon across the floor to him and apologized for being late. He is the most gracious man ever. I started to slip away and he reminded me that we usually pray over the food. He introduced me to the man and woman sitting with him . . . and they were parents of a child with cancer!!!!!!!!!!! Here I was fretting and frazzled about being late with food and THEY WERE IN AGONY OVER THEIR CHILD. In the blink of an eye, reality crashed around me like waves against the shore. We joined hands - all four of us - over that wagon of food and Chaplain Paul prayed for healing for brokenness and he prayed about breaking bread together . . . and he talked to God as if he were his best friend. All the time, I was holding Chaplain Paul's hand on my left and the daddy's hand on my right.
I prayed the whole time I rode the elevator back down, walked to my car and started driving. I made it to the car before I began to cry.
Of course, IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, I was immersed in the worst traffic jam ever. It took me an hour to get home from Children's Hospital - it is probably 15 or 20 miles from the house. At one point, I yelled at the lady in the car in front of me . . .. and I wondered how in the world I could be so close to Christ at one moment that I could surely reach out and touch him . . .and in the blink of an eye . . . could be so incredibly far from him.
We are a messed up group of folks.
On this night, I give thanks for good health, for me and for my family. I give thanks for the tiny baby growing inside Lauren. I give thanks for Laura's new job. I give thanks for joy. I give thanks that I could be the "taxi" for dinner for those who hurt. I give thanks for Chaplain Paul and for Children's Hospital. I give thanks for so many things!!