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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Comforting Cuddles
By Shirley McClay


I scrambled into the ambulance with my four-year-old in my trembling arms. The paramedic laid him on the seat and began checking his vitals. He smiled soothingly at Zach and comforted him with a fluffy white teddy bear.

“Everyone said this was just a routine surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids; just an afternoon in the hospital and then lots of Jell-O and popsicles.” I knew I was babbling, but I was just so scared. Zach buried his blood smudged face into the bear’s soft fur.

“How much blood was there?” The paramedic continued checking his pulse.

“He soaked a dishtowel and part of a bath towel.” I smoothed his hair (Zach loved to be touched) and tried to keep my voice calm.

Four hours and another bloodbath later, the intern was obviously alarmed. “We need to operate again.”

I hesitated. Zach’s reaction to anesthesia was to wake in a fright, frantically fighting everyone and everything.

“If it was my son, I would want it done immediately, Ma’am.” His serious tone mirrored his expression. Fear squeezed my heart and I had to rip the words out of my guts. It was as if I was about to freefall from a plane and needed to make the jump. I almost couldn’t say it. “Do the operation.” The abrupt words broke me and I had to slip away so Zach wouldn’t hear my sobs.

“You should try to sleep for the hour it will take to prepare.” I stared blankly at the nurse knowing she couldn’t possibly have a child of her own.

As I sat beside Zach’s bed and watched him sleep, the panic sank its claws deep and my heart raced and skipped. “Lord, protect my baby and guide the surgeon’s hands. Give him wisdom and skill.” The words were vacant noises in comparison to the crying out of my very soul.

Still the was panic was physically painful. “I bind you, Fear, in the name of Jesus and through the power of His blood.” I felt a shudder pass through my body. “Lord, let Your Spirit fill me and leave no room for evil spirits to harass.” A tingle warmed me through and the fear was gone.

When they wheeled Zach away to operate, the terror threatened again. An hour passed, then another. “God, they said an hour…!” I repeatedly rose to peer through the little round window.

Then I saw Him. God was standing with me in the room, His arms outstretched… waiting. So, I laid my baby in His arms. “It hurts, God. I am so scared you’ll take Him.” Tears burned my cheeks.

“What if I do?” The question haunted me, yet flooded me with a peace that I had never before experienced.

He stayed with me, cradling Zach like an infant. “I know that no matter what happens, You are with my baby, holding him and comforting him.”

I tried to look over His shoulder but He laughingly reminded me, “No peeking. You gave Zach to Me. I have him and nothing can come between us. He is safe in My hands.” I giggled… and tried to peek again. His smile was teasing but firm. “I love Zach too, Sweetheart.”

The time still crawled, anxiety twinged, yet it all seemed surreal… as if I floated.

Then they brought news… “There were complications, but Zach is fine now. He had four bleeders; three were cauterized and one was stitched. He’s coming out of the anesthesia and needs you immediately.”

Later, Zach lay in his hospital bed and repeatedly asked for… something. He was speech delayed and frustration often caused him to bang his head or gag himself. And now, at his deepest need for me, again I didn’t understand his cry.

My heart tore and tears poured down my cheeks. “Do you need a drink?”

He shook his head, “dhgkayf.“

“Are you cold?
Do you need Daddy?
Does it hurt?
Want me to read to you?
Want to watch a movie?”

Every offer was met with the same garbled entreaty. I was desperate and close to breaking, but his pleading brown eyes continued to search mine for understanding.

Finally, God spoke the answer into my heart. “You want to cuddle.” The tears spilled onto his cheeks and he nodded. My heart was full to bursting. I lay down on the bed beside Zach and enfolded him in my arms. We sobbed together and a new relationship was forged in the midst of our menacing night.

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This article has been read 1149 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw03/06/08
Ok, one word: TISSUE!!!! My goodness, what an experience this must have been if it is true. Very well-written and heart-warming.
Laury Hubrich 03/06/08
Wonderful, heartwarming story and I love your title! There is much emotion in here. You did a wonderful job conveying it!
Sara Harricharan 03/07/08
Wow. So sad, the pain and the decision to make. Tough! I like the tie in with your title at the end though. That was cute. My favorite part was with trying to peek over a shoulder and being told firmly, but gently. "I love Zach too." That just captured the entire story for me right there. Good job. ^_^
Mariane Holbrook 03/07/08
Oh.My.Goodness. You should have put a warning sign up:
"This is a 2 Kleenex-Box Zone. Come prepared."
What a tender, loving story. I kept hoping as I read that it was his mommy he wanted, it was her arms he wanted holding him tight. I love the dialog with God and I also loved the application of the powerful blood of Jesus to cover this little fellow's life. This is very well written and it makes us see why God chose Mothers to be the nurturers. Great job!!
Dianne Janak03/08/08
I loved this. All mothers can relate to your MC, and the whole piece kept me with you and Zach. What a sweet, tender, though scary story, but loved the whole lesson, the surrender, and the joy of blessing at the end. Great job.
Seema Bagai 03/09/08
Beautifully written.
Peter Stone03/11/08
I can so relate to this article. Seeing my own two children suffer, including my daughter having two (less serious) hospital operations, hurt me infinitely more than my own woes. I also came to trust God through my kids sufferings, that He really is in control.
Debbie Wistrom03/11/08
You told so much in just 750 words. Well done. Your progression is smooth, so it was very easy to read, keep up the good words.
Betty Castleberry03/11/08
Well, fanning my eyes to stop the tears just didn't work this time! I hung on every word. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story.
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
Very emotional. I liked it alot.
Chely Roach03/12/08
This was so beautiful..I loved the line "The words were vacant noises in comparison to the crying out of my very soul." Awesome job.
Mandy White03/12/08
My son's name is Zach also and we went through a serious infection that required a hospital stay. Your emotions, fears and the peace God gave you really hit home! Thank you for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 03/12/08
Oh, my--the clincher is the conversation between you and God--perfectly rendered.
Patty Wysong03/12/08
There truly should have been a tissue warning on this!! (I'm sitting at the library blubbering! LoL) This is wonderful, and written just right!! :)
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
How heartbreaking! I'm glad to see it had a happy ending, though. Wonderfully written and very poignant.
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
Oh, Shirley - I was THERE with you! Very engaging and descriptive. What an experience. I love your "talk" with the Lord especially, and, of course, the ending.
Joshua Janoski03/12/08
Wow. I don't get teary-eyed real often, but the dialogue with God did it to me.

I think you need to move on up to Masters, because this was masterful writing. You really blessed me with this one. Thank you for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 04/26/08
Hiya, Shirley--I'm going to feature this story in the Front Page Showcase for the week of May 26. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page, and congratulations!
Joshua Janoski05/26/08
Yay Shirley! So glad to see this story being showcased. Congratulations.
Janice Cartwright05/26/08
How graphically and poignantly you portrayed this gut-wrenching story. Any mother can identify with the depth of your feeling when writing this and the anguished decision to turn it all over to God. The touch of sweet humor added just the lightness to make it bearable. Well-done Shirley.
Beth LaBuff 05/26/08
Shirley -- Congrats on being the FW 500 Frontpage Showcase author with this wonderful piece!
Norma-Anne Hough05/27/08
Very emotional and beautifully told. Congratulations. Watching our kids go through trauma is no joke. Loved your dialogue with God.
Glynis Becker05/28/08
I've been in that place too and you've described it perfectly! Pass the kleenexes :)
Lyn Churchyard05/30/08
Oh Shirley, this is just beautiful. Definitely a twin pack of Kleenex. Yes, I know all about rushing a baby to hospital. You have done a marvelous job with this one. I loved the conversation between you and God. So real and tender. Congratulations on being Showcased with this one. Well done!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/31/08
Your faith...and your writing are beautiful. I was glad to see this showcased.
Ted Davis05/31/08
Outstanding, read like a short story.
Good use of description, kept me reading until the end, looking for the end result. Constantly keeps a reader wondering, in a short period of time as to what the outcome to the character would be.
Very well done, keep it up, great way to take a part of our Christian walk and put it into another's heart, good lesson learned.
Judy Watters06/01/08
Wow...my motherly instincts rode in the ambulance and nervously sat in the waiting room with you. Great writing full of all the emotions and insights of a mom in God's hands.