My friend who had a brain tumor removed several weeks earlier sat across the table from me in our favorite restaurant. My excitement gushed out in inquiries about her recovery.
As nonsense poured out of her mouth, my eyes filled and my mouth dropped open in spite of my efforts to keep it closed. My throat swelled. This couldn’t be happening. Removing that tumour was supposed to restore her brain function.
Within hours, my friend was ambulanced to the closest intensive care hospital, and I was left behind to pace my home, trying to convince myself that all things do work together for the benefit of those who love the Lord. No way could I see how this fearful situation could benefit anyone.
A phone call came from my friend's grandson. Her head was filled with infection. She was already in surgery to clean it out. This procedure would restore her brain function.
I thanked him and hung up, hoping he was right, yet afraid to believe it would.
In due time, my friend returned to our local hospital. When I entered her room, she lay still on the bed, pale faced, with an angry candy cane-shaped incision on her temple.
Her eyes fluttered open and a smile lit her face. She reached for my hand. "I'm so glad to see you."
After returning her greeting I sat on a chair in the corner. "Why did this have to happen?" I mused to myself as much as her.
My friend leaned back into the pillows. "There's things we'll never understand as long as we are on earth, but this whole experience, as bad as it was, had a bright light."
I raised my eyebrow, inviting her to continue.
"As I lay on whatever I lay on in the intensive care unit, I heard a young man sobbing on the other side of the curtain that separated us. I did what all grandmothers do. I tried to console him. Accepting my friendship, he told me about the accident he'd been in, how his life was about to change, how scared he was.
As he admitted his fears to me, I realized I'd battled with the same thoughts, but I knew Jesus was nearby and I talked about my heartbreak with him. I shared this with the young man and his sobs stopped. He left the unit earlier than me, but before he left, he stopped by my bed and thanked me for my concern, and for reminding him that Jesus is our strength when our own is gone.
My friend stared out the window a bit, then turned back to me. "I'm not saying I went through this second surgery just to share God's love with that young man, but it certainly made the whole ordeal worthwhile."