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For a moment, I watched to see if your eyes would open. You were resting. I didn’t want to disturb you so I walked around to the side of the bed to just look into your sweet face. Your arms and hands were so pale, but even after all you had been through, your face was radiant. The freckles I hadn’t noticed since we were kinds were peeking through. I didn’t notice the tubes, I didn’t hear the machines, I only saw you and thought, she made it through.

I didn’t know what to say feeling so proud of your strength and so relieved that they could remove, so I brushed my fingertips across your forehead. They said they had never seen anything like it. Your vitals were like a kid, they said, and that you had taken good care and prepared for the surgery well. I know some of it was more than you had expected, but you did it! And after all these years of wondering what was wrong, they’d finally figured it out.

You weren’t imagining it.

You’ll be happy to know, your surgeon was good to us afterward. That’s the sign of a master surgeon–so good, that is, there is no sign of ego. She was taken aback for a moment at your big circle of supporters assembled in the waiting room. She explained to us what all had been done, what you would be facing in the days to come, and then after answering our questions–after seven hours of surgery removing the seven centimeters tumor and stitching up a seven inch incision, she told us that she would be meeting her husband for a dinner date. She never cooks, she said. It was just another day of work for her. Another day of saving lives. Your life.

When I took hold of your hand, you squeezed it. I didn’t think you even knew I was there. When I told you I loved you and gave you a kiss, you squeezed it again. When I told you I’d see you in the morning, you squeezed it again. They came then. As I left your small room filled with machines, flashing lights and beeps, the tears. I’d been holding them back. I never thought I’d have to watch my little sister suffer as you have. I never thought I’d have to watch you be wheeled past me on a gurney with your four daughters staring on in scared silence.

Yesterday, when we took our walk before leaving for the hospital, you had to stop and catch your breath and I waited in the same scared silence. Then you showed me the rose bush you love to stop and smell. As you held the rose in your hand you took my breath away.

We are learning some things through all this, aren’t we? If the rest of us have the sense to love others as you have in your life, I think we’ll all understand better how much God loves us. I think He’s doing surgery in all our hearts as you’ve had to go through yours.

Is it that we’re learning that God doesn’t necessarily remove us from situations, but He does show us the path through–with roses along the way.

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