We sat outside in the
waiting room on a long wooden bench. Big metal,
double doors separated us from our final
destination. The familiar warning signs indicating
that radiation was prevalent in the area was posted
along several walls and on the big doors. Week after
week we took our seats, almost silently. Sometimes
the same faces would nod to one another, but usually
there was a stillness and the endless time spent
waiting until a name was called......then the doors
would open briefly to allow the patient to enter.
This was the routine.
As the holidays
approached, someone in the hospital decided it would
be "cheery" to decorate these doors with
Christmas wrapping paper and run ribbon up the
middle and across to simulate a present. It was a
genuine gesture of kindness, but somehow it seemed
But, one day, as we all sat there in silence, I saw
a small corner of wrapping paper still taped to the
door. Someone had forgotten to remove all of the
paper. Here it was nearly Easter, I thought, and
Christmas paper was still in our presence. So....I
reached down to remove the torn and tattered corner.
Then, something caught my eye. The word "JOY"
was imprinted on this small scrap of paper...paper
barely large enough to contain these three letters.
I was weary and tired and drained. How, I thought,
could one find "JOY" in any of this?
Certainly, I felt no such feeling. There was no
trash container in sight, so I put the scrap of
paper into my purse, thinking I would discard it
Months passed. There were good days, and not so good
days. Consultations, decisions, hospitalizations,
appointments. Then one day while waiting outside
these same doors I decided to go through my purse
and discard some of the items that so mysteriously
seemed to collect in my handbag. At the bottom of my
purse, I found the small scrap of Christmas paper.
"Joy" it said. Yes, I remembered where it
came from.....from right over there on that big
metal door. Here it was nearly Easter. It seemed
years had passed since Christmas. How strange that I
still had this paper in my purse.
As I held it in my
hand, I prayed: "Dear God, please be with my
son today as he takes his final radiation
treatment." It was a simple prayer, but
sincere. A few moments later I was escorted into the
doctor's office, and subsequently joined by my son.
It was evident the news was good, for there were
smiles on the doctors' faces. There would be no
further radiation treatments. The scans indicated
the tumor was gone. I've kept that small scrap of
paper in my wallet as a reminder. God had sent me a
message.....months before. I just didn't know it.
Seventeen years have
passed, and today I will be babysitting three little
boys.....my son's sons. As I look at them and recall
this time so many years gone by.....oh, the joy that
fills my soul! Thank you God for that simple message
you sent my way so long ago, printed on torn
Christmas paper. I thank you for the joy and love
you show me daily....in so many different ways.