Monthly Archives: May 2013

Saturday Afternoon at Shady Acres

The wind was blowing straight out on Saturday.

I wrestled the sheets and towels as I doubled pinned them into place.  A chance gust of wind snapped the double pins and a fitted sheet flew wild against my frantic fingers.  I laughed at the sheer joy of the unpredictable energy, and grabbed it before it trailed into the damp lawn.  A thin, long strand of white hair stood soft against the red sheet.  It stopped my laughter mid-chuckle as I looked at it curiously.  Where would such a strand of hair –?   Oh.  Never mind.  I realized with a sudden pang that it had to be mine.  There was no one else’s for it to be.  It was so, well, silver.  

I went back to struggling with the sheets.  Find the middle, pin it tight, find the other side’s middle, tuck the elasticized end of one sheet into the other.   And then I suddenly had to smile again.  Several years ago, a favorite writer of mine was writing about laundry and the proper way to do hang it on the line.  Dorcas Smucker, raised Amish and certainly knowing a whole lot more about the right way to do things, happened to mention that the right way to hang sheets on the line was to hang them longways.  (At least that was what I understood her to say.)  So, for months and months, whenever I was hanging sheets on the line, I hung them long ways.  It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the way I folded them once they were dry.  It didn’t matter that it took up a whole lot more wash line space and clothes pins.  No, no.  If Dorcas Smucker said it was better to hang them long ways, for crying out loud, I was going to do it that way.  But then, after being inconvenienced and never really discovering why it was better that way, I got really, really tired of it.  So I went back to folding them in half and hanging them up the way I was used to.  And the way that made it easiest for me.  

On this day, there would have been no use in hanging them any special way, they were going to come loose!

Our Girl Nettie was antsy to be out.  She had cleaned her room and got antsy to be outside with Torreanna and me, so she decided to clean the birdbath– which she pretty much does every day, anyhow!

Certain Man was busy fixing his fence:

This fence is dear to Mr. Yutzy’s heart.  When we moved here almost 24 years ago, the neighbor next to us was wary of us, and from the very beginning, Daniel sought to make peace.  The fence between the properties was barbed wire, and in poor repair.  However, it was a reference point for this neighbor, because he would sit beside it at the road end while chickens were going out and woe betide any trespasser upon his property. There was more than one occasion when he would call the police on the catching crew.  The very first time chickens went out after we owned the farm, his wife called and asked to speak to Mr. Yutzy.

“I’m sorry, he isn’t in right now,” I told her.  “May I ask who is calling?”  (We hadn’t met this neighbor yet)

“This is Mrs. —,” she said in a most assertive voice.  “We live  at the corner.”

“Is there a problem?”  I asked, with my heart sinking.  I knew there probably was.  A chicken truck had backed into their fence.  Daniel had told me about it earlier in the morning, but I hadn’t personally assessed the damages.  

“Yes, there is.  When they were catching chickens this morning, someone damaged our fence!”

“Mrs. —,” I said as kindly as my quavering heart could muster, “we are so sorry.  Daniel saw that the fence was damaged and he intends to fix it as soon as possible.  He needs to get into town to get some stuff, but he does not intend to have our chicken catchers damage your fence and do nothing about it.  That wouldn’t be for the making of good feelings in the neighborhood.  We would like to be on good terms with our neighbors!”

“Oh,” she said in a very quiet voice.  “Okay, then.”

“Can I have Mr. Yutzy call you?”  I asked.  “He should be in the house shortly.”

“No, that’s alright,” she said pleasantly.  “If you are going to take care of it, that’s all we wanted.”

So, Daniel fixed the barbed wire fence, made an arrangement with the chicken company to catch chickens out of the other end of the chicken house where there was a little more room, and life in the neighborhood took on a less hostile air.  But Certain Man just didn’t like that barbed wire fence.  It was usually in disrepair, it was hard to mow around, and he has Standards of Fencing by which he lives.  This barbed wire fence was so substandard, that it barely rated.  So, as time went on, and he learned to know our neighbor a little better, he began to ask about replacing the fence with a better one.  For a long time, he got nowhere,  “No, Siree! Not a happening thing!  Nope, ain’t a’gonna do it, just not interested.”  

Then Daniel found out that the real reason that Mr. — didn’t want a new fence was that he thought that he would have to pay “halfies” for any fence that went down the property line.  When Daniel reassured him that we would cover the total cost of a new fence, he was finally granted permission to do it.  Sometime.  So the time came when our neighbors went on an extended vacation, and Daniel, with the help of his friend. Allen Beachy, tore out the old fence and put in a new, three wire high tensile fence with proper posts and just as straight as an arrow.  Ir was just a few feet inside our property line so that Mr. — wouldn’t have to even worry about cost, maintenance or anything.  It was finished before Mr. — returned home.  And all was peaceful in the neighborhood.

Then one day, while Daniel was out doing chores he heard hammering.  Upon investigation, he discovered Mr. — making fence on the neighboring side of the property line.  

“Mr. —, what in the world are you doing?”

“I’m making a fence.  I want to run an electric fence down through here so I can run some steers through the woods and along this side.”

“You don’t have to dig in post holes for that,” Daniel told him.  “Just hang those insulators on my fence and run your wire.  I don’t mind at all!”

“You sure?” asked a very contrite Mr. —.

“I’m sure,” Daniel reassured him.  “I don’t mind at all.  It’s a whole lot easier to just run that electric fence along these posts that are already here than it is to dig in new post holes.  Besides, it will be a whole lot easier mowing.”

And so, for a long number of years, that is how it went.  Daniel maintained the fence on the property line, and Mr. — maintained the electric wire that he had run along the inside of it.  I watched my husband cultivate a friendship with this man that was warm and rewarding. Mr.— a war veteran, and Mr. Yutzy, a Mennonite Deacon found lots of common ground in farming, trees, and life in general.  When Mr. — passed away a few years back, we all felt like we had truly lost a valuable friend.

Friday night, around Midnight, just when we were almost asleep, there was a great squealing of tires and a sickening thud.  I said, “Daniel!  There has been a wreck!”

“It sounds serious, too!”  He said, as we both leaped out of bed and scrambled for some day wear.  We clambered down the stairs and out into the cold, dark night.  From the deck, we could see that someone was into the woods just beyond the fence.  Daniel wanted to just get into the van and run down there.  I thought we should call 911.  Finally, I called 911 while he waited to hear what they would say.  They wanted to know if anyone was hurt.  (I don’t know.)  Is it serious?  (It sounded really serious!)  Could someone go down there and check to see if anyone is hurt? (Well, we aren’t sure of how deeply they are in the woods, but my husband is going down there and we can call you back.)  They finally decided to send someone out and Daniel got into the van and started down the road.  When he got up there and shone his headlights into the woods, a young man came out.  

“Is everything alright?”  Daniel asked.  “Is anybody hurt?”

“Yeah, we’re alright.  My girlfriend and I were fighting and she grabbed the wheel and I lost control and ended up in the woods.”

“Where’s your girlfriend?”

“She’s back there in the woods.”

Daniel didn’t argue with him, but he was pretty sure that judging from how there was some pretty sturdy brush up against the passenger door, that the girlfriend was still inside the car.

“We’re alright,” he repeated.  “We are just going to pull the car out.  We are okay.”  Daniel didn’t say anything but he thought that it would be good for the police and the EMT’s to come.  He called me and said that he was going to sit at the end of the lane because the car was so far into the woods that he was sure anyone passing on the road would never see the card.

And he was right.  It wasn’t too long before an emergency squad came barreling down the road, past the place where the car had entered the woods and pulled up to our driveway.  When Daniel told them they had passed it, they were not sure he was telling the truth, but once they headed back and met the young man coming in their direction, they were convinced.  Coming in their direction.  Yes.  I guess he decided that he needed some help after all.  And things really got moving then:

The next morning, I went out to see what I could see, and there was not all that much:

But the problem was that he had taken out Daniel’s fence at the very end, and everything was dangling in great disarray.

So the very next morning, Daniel got busy and repaired that fence as good as new.

And the wind blew straight all day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday.

One of my favorite young families decided to fly kite on Sunday night:

It dipped and soared like a great flying bird, gorgeous against the sunny sky:

And then they reeled it it, from 200 feet up, and brought it safely down.

What a busy, happy weekend!  (except for that car accident business!)

My heart gives grateful praise!


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We are home from a wonderful family vacation in West Virginia.  It was just the best time ever!

I came  home to the flowers blooming, and so many vivid colors.



The roses are phenomenal!  Daniel weathered two climbing Joseph’s Coats over the winter in containers.  They are in almost total shade but are blooming their hearts out.  A friend of his from work gave him three climbers from her late mother’s garden.  They are blooming, too, and are covered with buds.  I want to train them through the railing that is around the north side deck.  

Some of you know that Daniel is partial to peonies.  We have light pink that are like a single flower, and then deep red and white that are gorgeous double flowers. The deep red are not out yet, but the white and the light pink are.  I picked a bouquet of those for the dining room table.


 Their fragrance reminds me of a very old story.  I decided to repost it here for what it is worth.

Springtime Musings, 1992

Her Daddy loves growing things.  Along our walk and and lane and hither and yon, he has planted peonies.  They grow on his mother’s grave and he loves their lavish colors and extravagant fragrance.

She is our youngest;  twenty months of energy, smiles and personality.  Like her daddy, she loves growing things.  She has just discovered that peonies have flowers and flowers have smell.  I am working in the flower bed beside the house tonight, and she is fighting a losing battle with wanting to pick the posies.

The buds are nearly ready to burst.  The plants are loaded.  “One flower more or less won’t matter,”  I tell myself as her little fingers begin to dismantle a bud.  She works industriously to free some petals and beaming, toddles over to me.  Proudly, she shows me her handful of crumpled flower petals, smells them with long, effusive breaths and then holds them up for me to smell.

At first, I smell but sweaty baby hand, but then the haunting, lingering smell of spring peonies comes bravely through.

I watch her glowing face, think of our delight in this child and think of my own Heavenly Father.  Far better than I is He at seeing the beauty and smelling the fragrance in the broken petals that I bring to Him.  Some of it has been done in innocence, as my toddler’s joyous enjoyment of life reminds me.

But some of it has not been so innocent or carefree.  Yet still, this Father of love can take what has been lost beyond repair and accept what brokenness I offer Him, and loves me and gives me hope.  His love for me transforms something totally worthless and ruined into a thing of great treasure.


It was true twenty-one years ago.  It is true now.
My heart gives grateful praise.



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Motherhood hodgepodge

I remember the Mother’s Days all those many years ago.  The years when I lost our first baby, then our second, then our third. (13 years later, a fourth.) I remember how, when they were giving out some memento to the mothers of the congregation during one of the early years after we had lost our babies, when we were foster parents but not adoptive parents yet, that there was some question as to whether or not it was okay for me to get one.  I remember not even thinking about whether I got one or not.  I got in line and went right on up there and got it.  I was a Mama to (I think) three little ones at the time, had been a foster parent for over two years and it never occurred to me that some of the people maybe thought it wasn’t quite right somehow.

A little old lady came up to me after the service.  “Did you go and get one, too?” she queried.  “Because you should.  I think you are just as much a mother as anyone else!”

It was the first I had even thought that maybe some of the people in our congregation didn’t really consider me a mother.  But when there was some discussion about whether there would “be enough to go around if she took one,” I felt suddenly insecure about my status.

What is it that makes a woman a mother?  I was a foster parent to over twenty children, adoptive mother of one when I gave birth to Deborah.  “Well,” said another old crone at our church some months later, “I guess you are finding out that there is a whole lot more to babies than ribbons and bows!”  This was another older lady that had always been kind and supportive of me, and my astonishment must have showed on my face, because she quickly said, “Oh, well.  I guess you did already know that!”

I guess I did.  And I would like to venture that maybe I knew even more the cost of motherhood than some of my peers.  Even without the physical giving of birth (And YES!  That is a very REAL experience of mothering that I in no way want to detract from!) mothering is a whole lot more than ribbons and bows.  I remember that one of my friends from Community Bible Study years ago said that over the doors of the delivery room in the hospital where she gave birth was this adage:  “All who enter here leave self behind.”  I remember thinking, as a young mom, how wonderful it would be if that was an automatic transformation.  That somehow, passing through the doors of a delivery room would make an unselfish mother of all females giving birth.  

When I say that I felt that I knew the cost of motherhood more keenly than some of my peers, I am not bragging.  It’s just that I knew loss — as two babies died in early pregnancy and then our little boy died mid-term.  Well meaning people said things like, “You are young.  You can have another one.” (This was especially difficult after the doctor told us that my chances of carrying a pregnancy were about 1 in 20)  Or the one that made me go home and weep quietly into my pillow;  “It was probably a blessing.  There must have been something wrong with it.”  (Believe me, you learn not to say or do the first thing that comes into your head in response to this sort of thing.  And people really do mean well.  They just don’t think!)

Also, speaking of loss, we had foster babies that we loved for long periods of time — two in particular that came to us, one at eight months, one at 11 weeks, that we had for almost two years before they went on to adoptive homes.  “Well, you knew all along that you might not keep them,”  people would say, like that somehow made it easier for us to give them up.  What do you say to something like that?  The grief of knowing that a child you loved so intently was somewhere living, laughing, growing up and you had no say, no input into their lives, no contact, no pictures, no anything was sometimes beyond what I could bear.  But there was no one to tell, no one whom I felt I could be honest about how raw the feelings were.  

I remember going into the room where our toddler had slept to strip the bed after he left.  I tugged the corner free, and as the sheet and mattress pad came loose, the smell of Joseph came faintly up.  At first, I felt paralyzed, then I pulled the other corners free almost in a frenzy and buried my face in the smell of his now gone little person and muffled the screams and tears until I was spent.  Then plunked those tear stained sheets and mattress pad into the washer and washed it all away.  Sometimes it feels like I wrapped that grief up somewhere inside, too.  I knew it was real.  I never denied it, never pretended that I didn’t feel it.  But it was very, very private, something I felt that no one would really understand. I would have to say that it was in those days that I truly discovered that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me, carried me, and would walk with me even when I was misunderstood, or people were uncomfortable with my grief or felt that I shouldn’t feel it somehow — at least not so acutely.  And Jesus never failed me.  Never turned aside from the incredible avalanche of emotions that I dumped on Him.

Another lesson I learned from those days was that I would never, never, never take the time I had with a child for granted.  “How long are you going to have him?” asked one couple when we brought our first foster child to a church gathering.  I looked at Daniel.  He looked at me.  “We don’t know,” he said quietly, “it all depends.”  In my heart, I was screaming, “How long are you going to have your child?  How can any of us be promised tomorrow?”  And I was so defensive and angry inside.  The years have passed, and I have to own the fact that it ISN’T the same.  There is a whole lot more uncertainty with the future of a foster child than there is with a biological or adopted child.  

Except for one thing:  Our times are in HIS hands.  And there came a day when all of this settled into a kind of peace for me.  I choose to believe that the times of our foster children, the times of our four babies that never breathed, the times of the wonderful five young adults who call me “Mama” or “Momma” or “Mom” or even just “Hey!” are all in HIS hands and this day and every day heretofore and every day future is a gift that makes me a mother.

My heart gives grateful praise.



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I saw the neurologist yesterday.  It was to scope out the results of that fateful MRI of last week.   

“All normal!” He announced in his heavy accent.  He tries very hard to be specific and it isn’t too hard to understand him.  (I just can’t understand, though, why the “BEST” Neurologists are these dark, scholarly looking Jordanians or even “Persian” — that really got me, when a new doctor in one of the towns I lived was introduced as “Persian.”  The early 1980’s were not a time to be from Iran.  And so, he conveniently came from Persia, established his practice, and eventually dropped out of sight.  I wonder what happened to him . . .)

But I digress.

After looking at the report, and then relooking at the MRI on the screen in front of him, Dr. Kofahi determined that it wasn’t actually my MRI in front of him, so he cast about in the bowels of the computer until he found what he wanted and quickly flickered through the files.

“H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m . . . ”  He looked thoughtful, relooked, flashing through the thousand images in a split second.  I looked at the record that was my brain and wondered what in the world he could see.  It all looked sinister and creepy to me.  Some of the images showed my skull.  That was really freaky, looking at how my skull would look without my skin on.  Yikes!  But it is comforting to know that under the skin, there is commonality.  I mean, the man had someone else’s MRI up there and didn’t even know until he read the report and realized that what he was seeing wasn’t what was in the report.

“You have a cyst,” he said, “right in the middle of your brain.  It is common for people to have this.  You’ve probably had it since you were born.  It is of no consequence.  It wouldn’t be making your facial problems.”  He kept looking and looking and suddenly said to the nurse, “Is Dr. Davé here?  Did he read this MRI? I am going to go get him.”  And he disappeared for a few minutes, then returned with the other neurologist.

They brought up the MRI and discussed it and I heard things like “empty cellar” and “sagging lower lobe” and other unflattering descriptions of things that caused me increasing alarm.  Then Dr. Davé left and Dr. Kofahi began a battery of questions.

“Do you have headache?”  (No.)  “Do you have pressure in your head when coughing or straining or bending over?”  (No.)  “Do you have difficulty swallowing?”  (No.)  “Do you have episodes of fainting or dizziness?”  (No.)  “Do you have changes in your vision or difficulty seeing?”  (No.)  “H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.  None of these?”  (No.)   Then he shined a light in my eyes while his nurse tried to keep my attention on a far wall with various tactics.  He took so long that she couldn’t hold her arm up any longer and finally taped a picture on the wall.  But he couldn’t find any evidence of what he was looking for in the back of my eyes.

He concluded anyhow that the (very slightly) sagging lower lobe of my brain (!!!) must be pressing against that nerve and causing the problem.  And that there was nothing he could do about it since it wasn’t serious enough for surgery and that he was going to treat it symptomatically for now and recheck in a month, repeat the MRI in three months and sent me home.

And so, when people ask me what I found out, I really don’t know what to say.  I can’t remember the terminology for what this ailment is.  I’m a bit amused by this diagnosis.  I mean, there’s a LOT of things sagging on me these days, why wouldn’t my brain?  I’m a bit aggravated by it all, because it feels more like an “Aha!!!  This is what it must be since I can’t find anything else, and maybe she will go away and it will get better on its own and I hope it does because I really have no idea what is going on here” kind of diagnosis.  That isn’t very nice of me, because he has a reputation as a great neurologist.  

I just don’t know what that business is about an empty cellar in the middle of my head, and it isn’t nice to say someone’s brain is sagging.  But the most overriding opinion that it isn’t life threatening or terribly serious.  Inconvenient?  Yes.  Uncomfortable?  Yes.  Make me want to cry from the weariness of it all?  Yes. 

But today, Certain Man and I made a joyous trip to Jeff’s Greenhouses in Bethel, Delaware, and had a wonderful time choosing some beautiful plants for the plant hangers in our pavilion, and bought a few incidental for my front barrel.  Spring has come to Shady Acres, and I think I can be distracted from this strange feeling in my face that makes me feel like “Old Lady Half-face” enough to get some planting done.

There are so many wonderful things right now to celebrate.  Some are not mine to share; most are just the everyday glory of living.

Like a springy, small bouquet on a kitchen window sill:



Cheery flowers at the front door:

A pretty hanging bag beside the garage door:


A wren house that was a gift from Youngest Son and his Girl With a Beautiful Heart
that Certain Man placed at the top of this hanging bag to discourage the resident wren
from appropriating the new flowering bag for her nest again this year.


And the pretty New Guinea Impatiens in the pavilion:


So much to celebrate . . .  

My heart gives grateful praise.



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An MRI and a Prayer

This morning I went for my MRI.  The scheduling had been carefully done because of Daniel needing to go to to Physical Therapy while I was getting the MRI.  I asked how long it took to get an MRI of the brain, and had been cheerfully informed that it wouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, half an hour at most.  So, after double checking on all the issues (what about hair pins, is there any dietary considerations, can I drive myself, did the authorization come through, and again, how long should it take?) it seemed like everything was in order.

I dropped Daniel at Southern Delaware Physical Therapy Group and went about three doors down to the CNMRI office that is on the same street.  When I walked in the door at 10:30, I was so pleased to have made it exactly when they told me to be there.  I know the gals at the desk in this establishment, because one of my Sweet Mama’s doctors shares the building.  I told them that I needed to pick up my husband in an hour, and signed in and began to wait.

And proceeded to wait and wait and wait.  I had been told that I had been allotted the half hour increment between 10:30 and 11:00, so I began to be increasingly concerned as the minutes passed and no one called me.  I am often amazed at the way God works in our lives at times like this.  He provided a most unattractively vocal woman who was waiting on a ride who was cussing and calling the ride provider and in general being obnoxious.  People like this tend to make me want to wait peacefully and quietly and make me want to smile sweetly (even though I may be clenching my teeth behind the grimace.)  And so, I sat and tried not to be irritated and tired to engage her in conversation about her life and to listen sympathetically to her complaints about life and non-husband father of her 15 year old daughter, and why didn’t that ride come, and on and on.  

Along about eleven o’clock, when I was supposed to be finishing the test, I decided to check on what was going on.  Daniel was going to be done in another half hour and, at least at this rate, no one was going to be there to pick him up.  I sidled up to the window and peered across the divide.  The receptionist looked up from her work, surprised.

“I’m sorry,” I began, “But I’m just wondering.  Are you running behind on your MRI’s this morning?”

She looked at me, dumbfounded.  “You haven’t been called back?  What time was your appointment?”

“10:30,” I said.  “And I’m beginning to wonder if I am going to be done before I need to pick up my husband.”

She went into her computer screen and I saw a shadow cross her face.  “It says here that you are finished,” she said.  “You’ve been signed out as all done.”

“But I haven’t even gone back,” I protested.  “No one ever called me!”

“I don’t know,” she said, again, guardedly, “We will have to find out what is going on.”

I went back and sat in my chair and waited again.

After about 15 more minutes, I went back again.  “Can you tell me anything?” I asked.  “Do you know what is going on?

“No,” she said, somewhat busy with something or other.  “We still do not know anything.”

“Do you think that I should call someone to pick up my husband?” I asked. “He’s going to be done really soon, and I don’t want him to have to wait around after physical therapy because I don’t know how much pain he is going to have.”

She looked up briefly and said, quite emphatically, “You need to call someone to get him because we don’t know what is going on!”

And so, I got off and called Middle Daughter.  She wasn’t dressed or combed yet.  She had worked all night and was not her lucid self.  So I called Oldest Daughter, who carefully and cheerfully put everything on hold  and went and fetched her Daddy from PT and deposited him safely home.

By now it was 11:30, and I was increasingly upset.  I went back to the window and said, “I’m getting irritated!”

The one receptionist at this office is a “cackler!”  She has the most obnoxious voice — to the point that both Sweet Mama and I make comment betweenst ourselves at almost every visit.  Often she uses it to snort off laughter or exclamations.  It comes across raucous in conversation.  But it’s all she has, at least I guess so, so I try not to be too affronted by it.

She looked up again from her computer.  “I don’t blame you,” she squawked.  “I’d be irritated, too!”

“What is going on?”  I asked.  “Can you tell me anything?”

“Something got mixed up,” she said.  “We’re trying to figure it out.”  And then went back to her task.  I went to the ladies’ room, and then sat briefly back in the waiting room.  Away from the other disgruntled waiting person.  But then I decided that an hour was long enough to wait without any answers. So I got up again and went to the window.

“I’m sorry,” I said, with a little heat in my voice.  “But I’m not leaving this window until someone tells me what is going on.  If I could have an explanation, a time frame or something!  But I feel like I need to know something.  I am going to stand right here until someone tells me something.”

Things started to happen then.  A nurse from another section went and peered into the MRI room, and it was empty.  No one was there.  She said, “I’m going to go look for (the receptionist from that side).”  I noticed then that the second receptionist (not the squawky one) was missing.  I had assumed that maybe she had gone out for a smoke break, but she suddenly came around the corner and down the hall and sat down at the desk.  She looked up at me and her eyes were begging.

“I’m here,” I felt the need to re-announce, “and I’m not leaving my perch until someone gives me some answers.”

She had a long string of checkouts waiting at her side desk, and she looked sympathetically at me, and lowered her voice.

“Mrs. Yutzy,” she said, “I am SO sorry.  There has been a big mistake.  You were checked out as done, and our technician saw that she had no more patients until 12:30 and she left.  We’ve gotten ahold of her and she is coming back to do your MRI.  I spoke to her about 5 minutes ago and she said she would be here in 15.  So she should be here in 10.  I am so sorry.  I don’t know how this happened.  We didn’t check you out here, so she must have accidentally checked you out back there, but we don’t know.  I’m so sorry.”

So I sat back down again.  I was so incredibly frustrated.  My face was aching, and it just seemed so “wrong.”  I started to cry. The tears slid out of my numb eye and my numb right nostril started to run.  I thought briefly how I wished that I could be pretty when I cried.  And I thought about how stupid it was of me to be so upset.  And then I thought about the fact that I was on prednisone and probably couldn’t help it, and then I started to think about what God thought about His Daughter, and about how there are words that I live by and they weren’t doing me much practical good in this moment of need.

And suddenly, I felt like God was saying to me, “Mary Ann.  Hold on.  This story isn’t finished yet.  This won’t be wasted if you just trust me.”

Now if you think that this is my first reaction, or if you think this was easy for me, you can think again.  I heard someone address my neurologist somewhere in the labyrinth of the office and I even thought briefly of going and complaining to him about the mismanagement going on in his office.  But I again felt that I was to restrain my tongue — yes, but even more that I was to restrain my heart.

So I finished out those minutes by praying hard for a work of grace in my heart.  I prayed that I would not do or say anything that would discredit the Lord Jesus.

And then the door opened, and there was this fragile gal, probably in her late forties, and she looked like she had been crying, too.  She was talking to the receptionists as she called my name.

“Mary Ann — ” she didn’t look at me.  “– I did my last patient, and then I didn’t have any more scheduled until 12:30,” she was saying, with more than a little frustration.  “I didn’t know that I had another patient.  They were all signed out.”

I followed her back to the room, and she was clearly agitated.  “I just don’t understand what happened!”

“I don’t understand it, either,” I said.  “I was scheduled for 10:30 and that was when I got here.  When I checked at 11 why they weren’t taking me, they said that I was already checked out, that I was marked as finished.”

“I don’t know what happened,” she said again.  

“Don’t worry about it, girlie,” I said.  “Mistakes can happen so quickly.  It will be alright.”

Then, with tears gathering in the corners of her eyes she said that she had a family problem and it had upset her.

“. . . and it felt like a good chance to run home and check on it, didn’t it?” I said.

“Yes,” she said.  “I felt like I had to check things out.”  And then she told me about her hurt in the situation without being too specific, and finished explaining the procedure to me while she strapped me in and down and got everything ready.  My heart began to ache for her.  She was clearly fighting tears, and she was feeling so confused about what had happened.  

The first part of the MRI was over before I knew it.  She was suddenly standing by my side, her gentle hands starting the IV and caressing my hand.  

Then she said, “I just want to tell you how sorry I am.  We did a clerical audit and discovered that it was my mistake this morning.  Instead of checking out my patient just before you, I checked you out instead.  I am just so sorry.  It was my mistake.”

I had just spent some time praying for this gal while I was in the MRI machine, and suddenly, it didn’t seem to matter so much anymore.

“It’s okay, girlie,” I said.  “I have found that when things like this happen that are out of my control that seem to complicate my life, that God has a reason.  It isn’t by accident, and I believe this was somehow meant to be.”

She thanked me, but then was quiet.  The MRI finished, and she helped me off the table.  We exchanged a few pleasantries, and I told her that I hoped that her day would go better.  I could tell that she was still fighting those tears and on impulse, I asked her, “Do you believe in the power of prayer?”

“Oh, yes!” she breathed.  “I do, I do!”

“Would you mind if I prayed for you?”  I asked.

She turned and shut the door leading out into the hall.  “I would love for you to pray for me,” she said.  “Please.”

She came over to where I was standing, and came into my arms and melted against my chest.  She felt so vulnerable and broken.

And so, I prayed.  I prayed for her broken heart.  I prayed for repentance on the part of her family member.  I prayed for forgiveness and restoration and peace.  I prayed that the rest of this day would be so touched with Grace that she could not miss it.  And I whispered a quiet heart prayer of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father that He had not allowed me to miss these Holy Moments in an MRI room of a doctor’s office.

Strange how the Holy can transform the irritating into glory.

My heart gives grateful praise.





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