Strength can be found even when we stop looking for it.
Strength for Megan
Her frame seemed frail, etched away these last few years by the carnivorous disease that owned her. Her skin was a combination of paper-thin flesh and a conglomeration of scarring bruises left behind by the previous procedures she had endured. Megan’s gait was wobbly, as she moved about the room. Her tiny hand, gripped at the objects nearest to her to steady herself, as she walked. She eased her bottom into a seated position on the bed. She picked at the remnants of tasteless food still lingering on her tray. Most days she had to force herself to eat, but today was different. Her appetite had returned with the latest round of steroids and marinol beads. Megan grimaced as she struggled to down the dried out Angel food cake, knowing the food was doing nothing more than feeding the cancer that had invaded her body.
She suddenly pushed it all aside, and reached for the card left on the table. The name embossed on the card of Penny Boatwright stirred no memories. Delicately, she traced the raised lettering of the card before she flipped it over to read the handwritten note. It read,”Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Megan had read the Bible often, but she couldn’t remember this particular passage. She placed the card close to her heart hoping to leave some magical imprint. God had always been her strength in life, but the weariness of these latter days had caused her faith to stutter. Pain and suffering so easily open the gateway to doubt and fear. She clutched tight to the card, as if her life depended on its very existence.
Nighttime dawned and hospital staff had rounded to get Megan tucked in bed and ready for the night. She had asked the many people that entered her room about the card, but no one knew of a Penny Boatwright or who might have left the card. It was a small mystery among the staff, but Megan slept well for the first time in a very long time. She woke with a renewed energy and the nurse setting up her breakfast tray couldn’t help but notice the sparkle in the woman’s blue eyes.
She ate her breakfast quietly marveling at being able to taste the food. Megan could feel the lessening of her pain. It seemed to drip away like the blood in the vials drawn each morning. The tremors that had plagued her were stilled. She rose to glance at the mirror’s reflection, and was almost startled by the shimmering blueness of her eyes. Her skin still hung loosely on her face, and in desperate need of stuffing to fill in the cracks, but the dance in her eyes spoke of strength and happiness. The words, “God is the strength of my heart.” pranced like a carousel horse in her mind.
Megan dug through the bed searching for the card she had clutched through the night. Once more, she wanted to read the psalm. It was scrunched and twisted with one shiny penny lying beside it. She hoped the writing was still legible. The name “Penny Boatwright” was still as crisp with its letters raised. She again flipped the card over, eager to read the inspiring message from the previous night. It read,” We are one with the Spirit. This penny represents new beginnings and the start of a new chapter.”
One single tear slipped down Megan’s cheek and she could feel the coolness of it. Her heart was happy, for faith had returned. Her burden was no longer borne alone. The penny, gifted to her from Penny Boatwright, she held tight in her frail hand. It brought her strength for the next leg of her journey.
Megan passed quietly that night. She was finally one with the Spirit.
It is well known among healthcare workers that the dying usually rally before the end of their life. Often, it provides the needed time for families to share their love one last time. Perhaps, it is God’s strength living in one’s heart that opens a window of hope.
Word Count 700