A ticket to the dance
Today’s start was leisurely and peaceful – two words I would not use to describe most of my mornings. Our children were out of the house early to volunteer, giving my sweetie and I time to read the paper while the quiche with kale and red peppers was baking. What a delicious way to start the morning! We talked about the headlines: the loss of another business in our small town and the recognition of a friend’s dad for forty years of service at the university. We lamented the former and celebrated the latter. Eventually, our talk turned to basketball. Not very surprising in our house as it is March Madness after all. My husband is a reluctant fan. He isn’t glued to the results but always wants to see a good match-up. I, however, watch the games with an eye discerning athleticism and a heart looking for a good story.
Last Thursday was no exception.
It was a busy afternoon for my taxi service, completing carpool duties and driving my own children to appointments. The entire ride all ears were riveted to the radio for a girls’ basketball semifinal play-off game. They weren’t from our school, but we wished and cheered, hoping they could pull ahead from a double digit deficit. As the game clock was slowly ticking away, my littlest and I continued on with errands. The final minutes of the game unfolded. We sat in our van in the beautiful sun . . . outside of the mall. While she loves playing basketball, her interest started to wane, as she plucked her latest book from her backpack.
At one point, she looked up from her pages and tenderly said, “Momma, are you crying?”.
I assured her worried heart that I was crying happy tears. When you are nine years old, happy tears are more than just a bit confusing. An oxymoron in its truest form.
So overjoyed with emotion, my response was one that only muddied the waters more.
For this child I prayed.
The scrunched up nose and tangled eyebrows told me everything. She still didn’t understand.
Remember when we had the cancer game at sister’s basketball.
Quietly, a yes came forth.
Do you remember whom sister chose to play for?
Another quiet acknowledgment.
Not that long ago, she was very sick and she was fighting to get better. When she was so sick, mommy prayed.
I didn’t tell her how for years after the bus crash, I suffered from night terrors. In those dark moments where silence clung in every crevice of the room, my nights were filled with every worst case scenario my terror-filled imagination could create. The horror of the immediate and the fear of what more could happen to our family, to my children, were my only thoughts. I was weary and tired. Anguish replaced peace-filled slumber. To drown out the silence, I created noise in my night time routine, until sleep would finally overtake my thoughts. When we heard about this sweet girl’s diagnosis, my heart hurt for her family because I understood what it felt like to have a child hurt and suffering. We pray we hear of those hurting universally, but in this case, the hurt came knocking at our door . . . because she was one of “our own”. As a friend of my children, I am a tiny part of her village.
Rather than allowing my fears to consume me, I changed my night-time routine. Instead of filling my head with noise, I chose to flood heaven’s gates with prayers. Whenever I could not sleep, I prayed for her. While she lay (hopefully) sleeping and fighting the cancer in her body, I prayed for just that – rest for her body, healing for her cells, and peace for her family. My own nights began to get better, as God and I settled into a routine. Fitful nights became less frequent for me, but when they did happen, I happily chose to pray for her. It brought me peace.
In my edited version, I explained to my little girl that even though she wasn’t part of our family, I had spent many, many hours praying for God to heal her. God doesn’t always answer those prayers in the way we want, but this time, he did.
The joy in her face was priceless . . . “Oh, I get it. You are crying because you are so happy for her and her team.”
Today, a girl I know, the one for whom I prayed, has a ticket to the dance – the state championship. Replacing glass slippers with basketball hi-tops, she along with the rest of her team will once again play, with heart and perseverance, hoping to come back as the victors.
What she doesn’t know is someone in the village has been praying for a Cinderella finish . . . for a very long time.