Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Heart Of The Matter

So I haven’t written much about Elise the last couple of weeks because since a lot of y’all know what happened, I almost feel like if I mention her at all on the blawg I have to be all solemn-like and refer to her as Elise-one-of-my-best-friends-whose-husband-just-died.

Which practically rolls off of the tongue. And CERTAINLY is what she prefers to be called.

But the truth of the matter is that this morning I had a delightful exchange of emails with Elise-one-of-my-best-friends-whose-husband-just-died and several other friends. The whole thing started because Melanie wanted to know if anyone was planning to be in Baton Rouge for the MSU / LSU game in September, and well, yes I am, but as Melanie pointed out, the game is at 11 in the morning in THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH, and quite frankly I’m not sure my delicate constitution (ahem) can handle that kind of heat, not to mention the scorching power of a thousand fiery suns.

Long story long, I ended up emailing the girls a tale of a long and pointless - though somewhat entertaining - dream I had about Elise last night, and suffice it to say that the dream reveals a great deal about the state of my (admittedly disturbed) mind, the history of our friendship, not to mention the deep and lasting emotional scars that are, I feel, a direct result of prolonged exposure to and experimentation with the fashions of the late 1980's.

And the dream made E. laugh. That's a mighty good thing.

So anyway. Our email exchange was a great way to start the day, and right before lunchtime I got another email from E., one I assumed had something to do with All The Wackiness of the morning. But instead, it was a story that will get forwarded and FW: and Fwd: until it’s just worn out, bless its heart. But because it came from Elise-one-of-my-best-friends-whose-husband-just-died, and because she hasn’t been emailing very much lately, I paid attention. I read the story.

And after I finished it, I knew exactly why she sent it:

"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..."

"You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted.

The surgeon looked up, annoyed. "I'll cut your heart open," he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..."

"But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there," said the boy.

The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest back up, and I'll plan what to do next."

"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart."

The surgeon had had enough. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well."

"You'll find Jesus there too. He lives there."

The surgeon left.

The surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery: "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis…” – and here he paused – “…death within one year.”

He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said.

"Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"

The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."

The surgeon's tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created that boy. He’ll be dead in months. Why?"

The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for He has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."

The surgeon wept.

Later, the surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?"

"Yes," said the surgeon.

"What did you find?" asked the boy.

"I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.
I cried a whole bunch when I read that.

I think it's one of the sweetest things I've ever read.

And E., I love you very much.


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