“It’s a girl, “Dr. Carlton Hill said, gently guiding out the blood-covered wrinkly newborn.
As his assisting nurse cut the umbilical cord and cleaned up the baby, his heart sank. The straight black line on the mother’s heart monitor signaled she was in trouble.
The alarm for code blue went off as Dr. Hill and his team scrambled to resuscitate the lifeless young mother.
But it was too late. She was gone. Shortly after her newborn daughter had taken her first breath, her mother took her last one.
Lacey should have terminated her pregnancy… Tried to warn her diabetes put her at high risk….Her illogical new religious beliefs killed her….Dr. Hill bit his lip, dreading what followed. Head cast down, he entered the waiting room to comfort Mrs. Young, the dead woman’s mother.
“You have a beautiful new granddaughter, Mrs. Young. But Lacey…..she….she didn’t make it…. I’m so sorry….”
After hugging her, he ran into his office, slamming the door. Glaring at his hands, wet with tears, he remembered what Nana, his own dear grandmother, had first told him years ago as a boy. These hands are made for healin’, child; you’ll be a great doctor someday. Her soft words had been medicine to his crushed eight-year-old heart that traumatic afternoon after school almost forty years ago.
As his mind traveled back to another place and time he could still hear his classmates’ cutting taunts….
“Half breed! Zebra!”
He remembered how he’d wanted to slug them as they continued to sneer, “Oreo! Chicken!” Instead he ran home.
Nana had been there to greet him with her homemade gingerbread and glass of milk.
“What’s wrong, child?” She’d asked, wiping his tears.
“Should have socked ‘em,” he’d sobbed, explaining what happened.
Nana had caressed his smooth young hands with her old gnarly ones and said, “These hands were made for healin’, child, not fightin’….God told me so….You’ll see someday.”
“But Nana, we’re poor folks….I’m a half-breed. Not all-white like Daddy, or all-black like you and Mamma. A mongrel like Rosie,” he’d sighed, petting his faithful black and white dog.
“You’re God’s child and He’s colorblind,” she’d reassured him. He remembered how she’d always say, “I’m prayin’ for ya, child….. Someday you’ll give your heart to Jesus.” Through the years she’d tried to lead him to the Lord, but young Carlton believed it was education and hard work that brought peace and fulfillment.
That Christmas the Salvation Army had given his family gifts. As he’d opened his present, his chocolate brown eyes had grown large with excitement as he’d examined his new doctor’s kit. Nana had smiled and said, “See, told ya, child. These hands were made for healin’. God told me so.”
Carlton soon outgrew his doctor’s kit, but he continued to rescue every injured little critter he could find, nursing them back to health. Everyone thought he wanted to become a vet. But when Rosie delivered puppies on his bed he knew his calling---an obstetrician. He never forgot the thrill of witnessing new life come into the world.
He studied hard, winning a scholarship and later received another one to medical school. Years later Dr. Carlton Hill returned to his hometown to practice medicine, giving back to his community.
Returning to the present, he stared at his diplomas. Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He sighed, thinking how he once felt fulfilled in his work. Now he felt useless. Empty and spent.
Time to retire…. I was never a great doctor, anyway….Maybe not even a good one. Did Nana really hear from God? He wondered.
He prepared to go home early, canceling his appointments. As he passed the nursery he spotted Mrs. Young. Feeling helpless he pretended not to see her. But she approached him, her newborn granddaughter cradled in her arms. Somehow this grandmother reminded him of his dear Nana who had died years ago.
“Again, I’m so sorry we couldn’t save your daughter,” he stammered.
“You can’t save anyone, doc. That’s God’s job,” she said through grieving tears. “Lacey’s with Jesus now, the Great Physician. Totally healed. Just thankful she finally found the Lord after she got pregnant. I’ll see her again someday. Now I’ve got to be strong and carry on….Have a beautiful new granddaughter to raise now. “
He saw the peace in her worn gray eyes and couldn’t understand it. Hadn’t she just lost her child?
“Do you know Him, Dr. Hill? The Great Physician? Let me tell you about Him….”
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