Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: YEAR (05/17/18)
- TITLE: Daryl's Dawning
By Stephen Kimball
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The nausea kept him from eating breakfast. Lately, he had lost much of his appetite, which he blamed for his weakness and weight loss. Instead, he downed a fist full of antacids on his way out the door. They wouldn’t help, but were something of a placebo that settled his mind and his emotions, if not his stomach.
He felt a queasiness in his gut, as he paced the lobby of the doctor’s office, but it was no longer because of the pain. He tried to reassure himself, “I’m okay with whatever, Lord. You are in control.” But the uneasiness remained.
“Daryl Smith? - The doctor will see you now.”
Unlike the normal routine, Daryl was ushered into Dr. Ellington’s private office.
“Hello Daryl, nice to see you… How are you feeling today?”
He searched Dr. Ellington’s eyes, as they shook hands, to see if they would give something away.
“Tired…and nervous”, Daryl answered as the doctor rounded his desk.
“Have a seat…please”, motioning to the elegant leather chairs that faced his desk.
“I don’t care to sit, thank you. I want to get this over with… I am ready for this... What have you found?”
Dr. Ellington sat and opened the file he held in his hands. “The results are not good. You have stage four pancreatic cancer – an aggressive type of cancer that has already spread to your liver and more than likely other areas as well. I’m going to send you to an oncologist, who will do more testing and work with you on a treatment plan.”
Daryl felt like someone had punched him in the chest. He sat down in the chair, leaned over, and buried his face in his hands. He took a few deep breaths, trying to gather his thoughts, “What’s going to happen to me?”
“Surgery is not an option at this stage. The prognosis…is 6-8 months. You can fight it with radiation and chemotherapy…with any luck you may have a year.”
Daryl nodded his head, unable to speak.
Dr. Ellington leaned in and spoke in a tone that was firm and encouraging, “Daryl, I know this is hard, but I want you to think about this…You have the opportunity to finish well; to get your affairs in order; to do anything you’ve always wanted to do; to right any wrongs; to love; to forgive; to say goodbye. That’s a privilege not everyone gets in this life. Make the most of what time you have left.”
Looking up, bleary eyed, at the doctor, “I will…Thank you for shooting straight with me Doc.”
Daryl made his way to his car, bowed his head, and wept. “God, what am I supposed to do with this? I need you now.”
He started the engine and looked at the clock “1:41”. Not wanting to be alone, he decided to drive to the church.
Daryl feigned a smile as he greeted the church secretary, “Is Pastor Allen available?”
“He is in a meeting right now; maybe he can see you afterward. Would you care to wait?”
“Yes… would it be okay if I waited in the sanctuary?”
“Of course, I will let him know when he gets out.”
Daryl entered the sanctuary, walked to the front steps and knelt in the shadow of the podium that had been fashioned in the shape of a large wooden cross. His soul quieted as he began to speak with God in a whisper. “Father, I know I need not fear – you are with me. I trust you will lead me through this trial, one step at a time. You are my hope and my strength…”
After some time had passed, Daryl felt an encouraging hand rest on his shoulder. The Pastor, he assumed, was kneeling behind him. He continued his prayer in silence.
When he finished he stood, and with aching knees, turned and stared in wonder. “Hello?” His voice echoed in the empty space. He checked his watch, “4:34”. As he exited the building, his was the only car in the parking lot. Peace and comfort invaded his soul - he was ready to go home.
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