Monday, August 6, 2007

Each day is a precious gift

Changing directions is something we all do. We have plans and everything seems to be going fine and then wham-o life throws us a change-up pitch.

I've had this happen in both my personal and professional life. The time I'm going to share today was when my oldest daughter had an unexplained illness. She was all of five years old, and it had been an ordinary day of January sledding and snacks. Towards evening as we prepared to go to a friend's house for a potluck dinner, she became ill, changing our plans.

It was decided that I'd take our younger daughter with me as I ran the food over to the dinner. This was back before the days of everyone having cell phones. When I arrived at the home which was 20 minutes away, my friends took in my younger daughter and sent me off to the hospital. My oldest had started having seizures and was unresponsive.

I could barely drive, my hands shook so much. I could barely breathe. I prayed out loud and silently and cried. I blamed myself for leaving her, for doing something that made her sick.
At the hospital, my husband looked like he'd seen a ghost. We clung to each other as we waited.

We'd been very active in church after our marriage, but lately we'd been searching for a different church, one that wasn't so trapped in ritual and history. Consequently, we felt uncomfortable calling the minister of our church to pray with us.

But one of the nurses there was a member of our church and called anyway. We were so glad. The priest was with us in the waiting room as they did a spinal tap on our daughter. She screamed at the top of her lungs, and it was the most blessed sound I'd ever heard.

All the tests came back negative for disease. The hospital said we just had to wait. She'd either get better or she wouldn't. Because we had two children, my husband and I decided one of us had to go home with the other daughter. I insisted that I was the one to stay, and he let me.

I sat up with my beautiful daughter all night, watching and praying for angels to enfold her. I offered God every deal in the book, but my girl didn't wake up. Then in the morning, she opened her eyes and she was fine. They never found out the cause of the illness and the seizures didn't return.

But my eyes had been opened as to how fragile each day was. Each child is a precious gift, each loved one a treasure to hold in your heart. From that day forward, I've tried to live each day to the fullest, and to tell my loved ones how special they are.

And that church? Yeah, we went back. Funny how when the chips were down, the ritual and history werejust what I needed.

Maggie Toussaint

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