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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Blessed (11/29/04)

TITLE: Surgery Waiting Room Blessing
By Charles Lee


I watched the old man as he was sitting in the surgery waiting room. Worry lined the features of his face. He was probably only in his early fifties, so my thoughts of him being old seemed unfounded. Yet something about the man seemed to characterize him as living many years beyond his age.

As he rubbed his hands together, I noticed that they were hard and calloused. On his left hand, his ring finger was missing from the knuckle up and he had a tendency to rub that finger as if from habit. If I had to guess, his work probably kept him out in the weather, and that hard, manual labor had been his way of life from his youth.

I was awakened from my thoughts when the volunteer at the desk called out someone’s name. “Tanner?” Now where had I heard that name? The man looked up in a manner that indicated that he had been in deep thought also.

“That’s me. How is she?” The question was asked but in a manner that seemed to me was asked with little hope that the answer would be favorable.

“The doctor will be out in a minute to talk to you, Mr. Tanner. I just wanted you to know that your wife was out of surgery.”

He sat back down and then got up and began pacing the room. His well worn boots sounded loudly every time he stepped off the carpet in the sitting area to the hall leading to the surgery room.

“John? Dr. Matthews.” The doctor extended his hand and I thought he winced when the man grabbed it for a handshake.

“Mrs. Tanner had some minor swelling but I don’t feel as if that will cause any problems with her brain. We will want to watch her for a day or two just to be sure. She’s in recovery now, but you should be able to see her in thirty minutes or so.”

“Thank you doctor. Thank the Lord.” The man shook the doctor’s hand again and this time the doctor was wise enough to get a better grip.

As the man sat back down, the name “Tanner” flashed in my memory and I knew why it seemed so familiar. This was the Tanner I had read about in the newspaper over coffee this morning. She apparently had run off the road when a herd of cows that had torn down their fence had gotten out and onto the road.

The story in the newspaper had told of the accident along with some other information of the couple’s life. They had endured so much, according to the article, over the past year. The loss of their son to cancer, a failed crop due to the drought, and now the accident that nearly took the woman’s life.

I was trying to get my thoughts together to see if I could in some way help the man through these trying times, when I looked up to see the man kneeling beside his chair. Tears came involuntarily into my eyes when I heard his prayer.

“Lord? I ain’t never had much. Seems as if I take one step forward, I get knocked back two. But Lord, I’ve had food to eat. I’ve had a roof over my head and I have a family that loves me. I knew if you took her life that I would see her again shortly, but I just wanted to thank you for letting us have a few more years here together. I can count all the bad turns that come our way, the times when I lacked the trust I needed in You, but Lord, I can’t count all the blessings. It’s just too many. Thank ya’ Lord. In Jesus’ sweet holy name I pray. Amen.”

Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 12/06/04
The prayer at the end really touched me. It is such a privilege to be around to witness these testimonies and to learn from them.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/07/04
Charles, this is beautiful. I wasn't expecting to cry, but here I am wiping away tears. :^)
Deborah Anderson12/07/04
Wonderful story, Charles that really got me at the end. Good job. God bless you.