David wasn't the only friend that Christopher made while he was in the hospital. The "talking doctor" worked hard to see to it that there were lots of opportunities for the patients to get to know one another. It was very therapeutic for the kids to be able to share with one another what had brought them to the hospital. It was also good for them to have fun doing other things together in order for them to take a much needed break from reality for awhile.
Reality for many of these kids was a pretty bitter pill to swallow. Some kids were there because of accidents, like David. Others were there due to illness. There were quite a few patients with cancer. Many of them were unable to leave their rooms because their immune systems were compromised. Sadly, they didn't get to enjoy the benefits of patient camaraderie.
You might think that there wouldn't be a whole lot of room for meaningful fellowship in the midst of the bleak reality of the hospital, but sometimes opportunity knocks when you least expect it. Sometimes you are walking around with the missing piece to someone elses puzzle, and you don't even know it.
This became abundantly clear to us when my husband went one day with Christopher to the daily arts and crafts social that the "talking doctor" had organized. I had errands to run that day, so Mike had taken over hospital duty. He thought they were going to just another cut, color, and glue session, but it turned out to be so much more. Lives would be forever changed when two worlds collided.
Her name was Annie (not her real name). She was a wafer thin teenage girl with a huge chip on her shoulder. She didn't want to be in the hospital because according to her, she wasn't sick. As Mike, Annie, and Christopher colored and talked she explained that she was in the hospital because of her parents and her doctor. Annie was suffering from Anorexia, a condition where the patient tries to lose weight by refusing to eat. Anorexia often spirals out of control, and the patient becomes dangerously thin and nutritionally challenged. Annie was the picture of Anorexia. She could have been the poster child for the condition. Her attitude regarding her physical status was indifferent at best. She had not reached the point where she could even acknowledge that she had a problem much less want to do anything about it. She saw her admission to the hospital as punishment, not as an opportunity to get better.
|Mickey and Minnie came to visit their new friend, Christopher.|
Mike, being a father, was worried and concerned for her. Why doesn't she just eat? She should just stop it and eat something. The cure seems so obvious and simple, but Anorexia is a cruel condition that the mind plays...on itself. Annie's resources were spent, and she simply was not up to the battle. Even though she was not willing to admit it, her father and mother had done her a favor by admitting her to the hospital for professional help.
Mike, being Christopher's father, was incredulous. He explained to Annie why Christopher was in the hospital. That's when the boy who couldn't eat met the girl who wouldn't eat, and two worlds collided with amazing force. Even Annie couldn't ignore the irony of it all. Before the glue even dried on their art projects, Annie had to admit that maybe her parents, the doctors, and the psychologists just might have a point. Christopher's story was her missing puzzle piece. By sharing their story Mike and Christopher had inadvertently given Annie the piece and the peace she had been looking for. Now it was up to Annie to put all the pieces of her puzzle back together again.
Sometimes when you least expect it, your story helps other people with theirs. Healing is a multifaceted thing. It's not limited to medical devices, prescriptions, and procedures. Sometimes just a smile or a kind word can heal us in ways that modern medicine, as advanced as it is, never could.
God doesn't cause bad things to happen, but He can help us find good things even in bad situations. Christopher's situation was definitely bad. Six year olds should be playing on the swings or sliding down the playground slide instead of laying in a hospital bed. Maybe, just maybe, something good came out of him having to be there at that very moment in time because Annie needed to know. She needed to know something that her parents and the doctors hadn't been able to convince her of. Maybe it was just what she needed to hear at just the right moment. Maybe a teenage girl finally recognized that she had taken something for granted. She had a choice. She had a decision to make. What was she going to do about that puzzle piece? Only she could ultimately decide it, but I pray that she chose to finish her puzzle.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: