Jan 27, 2013
Jan 24, 2013
It came how it often does. It was near the end of a long, busy shift. My heart longed to be home, in my kitchen, cooking dinner with my wife and enjoying her wonderfulness. But this little old lady needed to get some place and we were her escorts.
Margie was in her 70’s and full of life. From the minute we walked in her door, I liked her style. Slightly sarcastic, but not disrespectful, she had a humorous take on life that was refreshing. Her problem today was back pain.
She’d fallen 3 weeks ago and had been experiencing upper back pain ever since. She was seen in the hospital and discharged home, but the pain persisted. Her doctor advised her to check into a rehab facility and that’s why we were called.
With the pain at 8 out of 10, she wasn't able to help us, so we hoisted her from the wheelchair onto the gurney and got rolling. My wife sent a text message letting me know that a crock pot full of chili awaited me at home.
I got a set of vitals and began charting, but I felt like maybe she’d be open to prayer. I thought about it for a moment and decided to ask.
I asked again where the pain was and how bad it was.
“Well, maybe I should just pray for you and get you healed.”
With a wry smile, she said, “Well, maybe you should.”
I placed my hand on her back and began commanding bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and nerves to be healed. She began praising and thanking Jesus. We prayed some more and I asked how she felt. The pain was slowly subsiding, so I continued commanding it to leave and she continued praising Jesus. You should have been there, it was priceless.
“Wow, I just feel completely relaxed,” she said. “I think I could go to sleep.”
I told her she was welcome to take a nap until we got there.
It was a splendid ending to 2012.
2013....I'm ready for whatever you have in store.
Jan 21, 2013
I’m taking you all the way back to the beginning of my career, more than 30 years ago, before I wore a uniform or knew Jesus. Having been prompted by God to start dealing with and being healed from my past, I decided to begin writing about the days before I was known as Praying Medic.
I grew up in a culture where drinking alcohol was expected. I began drinking at the age of 15. My first experience was memorable. My best friend’s dad threw a beer party and I drank 5 pitchers of beer by myself. I was sick for two days and for the first time in my life, wished I was dead. My seven brothers tried their best to keep me intoxicated day and night. I tried hard to keep up with them, but after a few drinks, I usually ended up unconscious. I was growing weary of being broke, hung over and reeking of cigarette smoke. My career as an alcoholic was an utter failure.
By the time I was 20, my habits began to change. Though I still went to bars and played pool with friends, I started drinking only soft drinks. I went to bars because that's what everyone did. I thought one day, just maybe, I'd find the woman of my dreams….in a bar.
I'd been working in a plastics manufacturing factory for a couple of years. My dad tried to encourage me to follow in his footsteps, but plastics manufacturing just wasn't my thing. I knew it broke his heart a little when I told him that.
My dad and I were very close. We'd been driving to work together for 2 years. He worked as an estimator, while I worked in the raw materials warehouse. It wasn't the most exciting job, but it was a job. It gave me a paycheck and I learned to manage the inventory of the warehouse, which was an accomplishment for a 20 year-old without much life experience.
I remember sitting in our kitchen one day, talking with my mom when she told me there was a new EMT class starting up. She encouraged me to look into it.
Was my mom trying to get me to follow in her footsteps?
My mom had been a volunteer EMT for a few years and enjoyed it a lot. For some reason, she thought I would too.
So I went to the first class, thinking it would be nice to have a little medical knowledge in case I was ever confronted with an emergency. I had absolutely no interest in working on an ambulance.
There were about 15 students in the class. I got registered and took a seat. The instructor, a lanky man named Bruce had us introduce ourselves then explained his expectations and rules for the class.
He was a warm and intelligent man with a wonderful sense of humor. Bruce would become one of my role models for disaster preparedness and he would leave the world soon in the most ironic way.
He loaded a movie in the projector, dimmed the lights and asked us to take out a pen and a sheet of paper to jot down some notes. The movie was an instructional film on how to do a surgical cricothyroidotomy. We watched as the instructor explained the steps involved, then demonstrated on a live goat, how to perform the procedure.
I'm not sure to this day, if one of the goals was to weed out the squeamish or not, but it struck me as a bizarre way to begin a basic EMT class.
No soft entry for us. No warm and fuzzy discussions about becoming a caring member of the healthcare community. No introduction to the skeletal system.
"Here, let me show you the right way to cut someone's throat open....and please try not to vomit on the person next to you."
I was enthralled.
The wheels in my head spun at warp speed.
"Are you kidding me?
We actually get to do this stuff...
and it's legal?"
The EMT class met 3 hours a night, once a week for 9 months. I devoured the material and did well on the written and practical tests. Bruce saw my potential, but I still had no interest in ever working on an ambulance.
In those days, you were allowed to be certified as either an 'ambulance' or a 'non-ambulance' EMT. The 'ambulance' designation was for people who wanted to work or volunteer with a fire department or rescue squad. The 'non-ambulance' certificate meant that you passed the class, but had no desire to work on an ambulance.
When I registered for the class, I opted for the 'non-ambulance' certification, which meant I didn't have to do any ride time on an ambulance which suited me just fine. All those red lights and sick people seemed way too hectic for me.
As the class began doing their rides with the fire department, I heard some of their stories, which, to be honest, sounded kinda cool. I became a little jealous and started wondering if I'd made a mistake.
I talked to Bruce about my dilemma. I asked if it was too late to re-consider my 'non-ambulance' status or at least do a couple of rides. Turns out, there was no dilemma. If I wanted to ride, he could arrange it. I'm pretty sure that made him happy.
I went to the fire station and met the Chief, who was a nice guy named Roger. He gave me a pager and took down my phone number, checked his calendar and told me the day I would ride. All I had to do was show up at the station as soon as I could get there when the pager went off. Since my grandmother lived two blocks from the station, I arranged to stay at her house when I was on call.
Little did I know that my first call, a few days later, would make me question whether I wanted to ride on an ambulance ever again.
Jan 18, 2013
Approximately 10 years back I just got bad allergies and I avoided going out from April to August at all cost. My eyes felt painfully dry, my nose was constantly running, even with blood. It all was no fun at all.
The doctors gave me stuff to get over that time, but each year it got worse.
After I got invited to supernatural healing I commanded that stuff to leave. It was a constant struggle. Half a day it was fine and I could even breath through my nose, just to come back.
Two years back I was crying, blood came out of my nose, pain all over my face. I cried out to the Lord what's going on, why do I not get healed, when He said to me, because I see myself sick.
I was embarrassed, angry and said, no way, I know I'm healed by your stripes. Silence then...
I decided to take a nap and laid down for a while still crying, when I remembered what the Lord said and asked him:
I see myself sick? What does that mean?
All of the sudden I was in a dream, or I was dreaming. It was at least totally real.
I found myself waking in the midst of a field with all the triggers I could imagine without fear of them. I just stood there looked around and all of the sudden realized how all these flowers smelled like.
In all these years I forgot how spring smells with all its flowers and stuff coming out.
I realized what Satan took away from me. I cried, cried and cried.
This dream went on for approximately 20 minutes.
It took me this time in that dream to realize that I really was healed.
I woke up and was healed!
As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.
( Prov. 23:7)
Jan 15, 2013
This is a letter to bring you up to date on where I'm at, where I've been and where I'm going.
I've been thinking a lot about my past since the new year began. I know God wants to bring closure and healing to some open wounds from my past and I'm seeing a plan take shape to deal with them.
I think part of the healing process will involve writing about my past and bringing the dark things from it into the light. I've been considering the possibility of writing an autobiography of sorts - covering the entire span of my career as as paramedic.
Writing (for me) is therapeutic. There's a freedom that comes from telling my story. Heather Goodman asked me what it is that I like most about story-telling. I realized that my greatest emotional need is to be understood and accepted. So writing stories is how I meet that need. I write, and in the process, my heart is revealed. If you understand and accept me, my emotional need is satisfied.
Of course, if I'm rejected because of my past, I'll suffer the consequences. That's the risk you take when you write about your own problems.
Writing about my career will probably begin as a series of Facebook Notes. The audience that reads my notes is supportive and safe. And the stuff I need to share requires a safe audience.
This is not to say that most of my readers here are not supportive or safe - you are. But my Facebook friends are the folks I hang out with every day and they really 'get me' on a deeper level. So if the notes go well, I'll probably publish them here. The long term goal might be to turn them into a book.
Speaking of Facebook - I'll be taking a short break from Facebook this week. I know that I spend a lot of time on Facebook, and it may seem to some as though Facebook is my life, but I do have another life outside of it.
I've been extremely busy at work lately. The prayer requests, bacon posts and private messages have swamped me and I'm feeling overwhelmed. So I decided last night to de-activate my account for a few days.
This is something I didn't plan on, since most of my dreams lately have highlighted networking on Facebook. I don't expect to be offline very long.
I feel at times as if my message isn't reaching some people. If I had to summarize my message, it would be, (speaking of the miraculous) "Anyone can do this."
I try to encourage people to step into their identity in Christ and do the things Jesus did. The entire purpose of this blog and my Facebook account is to show people they can do the things I'm doing. So it frustrates me when people allow the enemy to beat them up, when they live in fear and hopelesness, and when they continue believing the lie that they need a 'Man of God' to pray for their miracle instead of doing it themselves.
We all have the same access to the throne of God. We all have the same Spirit living in us. Jesus is just as capable of healing through you as he is through me. So why do we continue believing the lie that we must have the 'Anointed Man of God' handle our crisis?
I guess that frustration is getting to me again, so I need to step away from Facebook for a while. The frustration I feel over this issue is probably why I wrote the book that we'll soon be publishing, which is a 'Do It Yourself' book on healing, deliverance & raising the dead.
One last thing...
A lot of you are gathering for the Global Kingdom Awakening seminar in Kansas in August. There are going to be hundreds of people there that I'd love to meet. Pete Cabrera, who is the host, has offered to arrange transportation for me. But I have one problem....
I have this job. If I want to bring home a paycheck, I need to work. Lately, I've been working overtime to keep up with the bills. As much as I'd love to take a week off work to attend the seminar & maybe teach one of the sessions, if I take time off work, the bills don't get paid. And the bills must be paid. So the prospects of attending are rather slim right now.
So that's where I'm at. Thanks for listening.
I love you all,
Jan 12, 2013
I've become aware that there are these divine appointments out there, waiting for me. Many of them show up at inconvenient times, like when I'd rather be at home eating dinner with my wife.
A few weeks ago, we transported a young woman who was suicidal. The call kept us past the end of our shift and I thought she would be my divine appointment. I got to pray with her, and she later contacted me to say thanks, but there was someone else I needed to meet that night.
It was late and I was tired. So when dispatch gave us another call, I got irritated and whined, "I've already done my good deed for the day...why can't we just go home?"
When I heard the patient had cancer, I began to think maybe this patient was the one. As we walked past her room I could see her family huddled around the bed. Some were sitting. Others were standing. There was a somber presence in the room. I heard someone choke back their emotions as they spoke in a hushed voice. I knew she was the one.
I headed for the nurse's station to get report, but the nurse met me in the hallway. She told me about my patient and her battle with cancer. Rolling her eyes, she told me that the family had unrealistic expectations about the patient's prognosis. Some of them were holding out for a miracle.
From the point of view of a doctor or nurse who's never witnessed a miracle, terminal patients die and there's nothing that can be done about it. That used to be the way I saw terminal cases. When you work in medicine and never see miracles, and you see people hoping for a miracle (the kind you've never seen), it seems like false hope or denial.
But people of faith, especially the ones who've seen miracles, have a hard time accepting the diagnosis of death. We know what that God is exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask or think. That perspective makes miracles possible. And when you begin to operate in them consistently – it makes them normal.
I took an instant liking to my patient's son in law. He was warm man with a great sense of humor. We began making light conversation. There was a long discussion between the family about who (if any one) could ride in the ambulance. I said we'd try to accommodate as many as they wanted. So the patient's daughter and son both rode along.
We got her a loaded and I got down to business. I looked at her son and said, “I'll assume a from the report I got from the nurse that you believe in miracles.”
He looked as his sister. “Yes we do”.
“So do I.”
I told him about some of the patients I’d seen healed. He began to cry. I asked if I might pray for their mother. They agreed and so did she. I placed my hands on her shoulders, and spoke blessings over her. I asked the Holy Spirit to bring His presence upon her. I commanded cancer, sickness and pain to leave. I commanded evil spirits to leave. Her son continued crying.
When I was done, I told him that he can find me on Facebook. He pulled out his phone, opened the Facebook application, searched for my name and found a guy with a helicopter picture.
"Yeah...that's me. Send me a private message and I’ll send you a friend request."
They had questions about healing. They wanted to know how long they should pray and when the they should quit if they haven’t seen results.
“Don’t ever quit”, I said.
I encouraged them to persist as long as it took and shared a few more stories about people who'd been healed only after receiving prayers for many years. I told them that has long as the person was still alive they should keep on praying.
I was able to write my report at the destination hospital, since I didn't have time to write anything but her vitals on the way. We got her settled into her room. I gave report to a nurse and said farewell to my patient.
“If I don’t see you in the future, I’ll see you in the pasture.”
I did see her again. I became friends with her family through Facebook. A few weeks later, I happened to be at the hospital. Her daughter asked me to check up on her. She was resting peacefully. A few days later, she stepped into eternity.
Knowing what eternity is like, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous.
Jan 9, 2013
I wanted to share a few thoughts on doctrines and how they can affect our relationships. I need to say up front that I firmly believe that embracing sound doctrine is a good thing and following false doctrine is the fast road to ruin. This note isn't about the value of having sound doctrine - it's more about how we prioritize doctrine in our lives - particularly as doctrines come into conflict.
I have thousands of friends on Facebook; Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Mormons, Mystics and many more. They all have different beliefs about God. Their beliefs can be called their 'doctrines'.
Many of us have been taught to separate society into two groups - one group with 'right' doctrine, and another with 'wrong' doctrine. We're taught to associate only with people who have 'right' doctrine and to avoid people with 'wrong' doctrine.
I have this problem...Jesus didn't die to give me right doctrine. He died to give me His life, which He lives inside of me 24/7, even when I'm not conscious of it. Jesus died for people, not doctrine. And you are one of those people that He died for. If He values you that highly, I must do so as well. I must value people more highly than I value belief systems. God isn't a belief system - He lives outside of any belief system man ever came up with, though some people seem to have made some kind of god out of their belief system.
When I run into people with doctrines I don't fully agree with, I keep in mind the fact that the things I believe about God today are radically different from the things I believed about Him 5 years ago. And 5 years from now - my beliefs will be even more different from today. My doctrines (the things I believe about God) are always in a state of change.
So how do I deal with people that I disagree with, doctrinally?
I have a couple of choices:
1) I can reject them as a person, because of their doctrine. In doing this - I choose to make doctrine more important than the person. That's not consistent with the life Jesus lived, nor the value He places on each of us.
2) I can accept their doctrine, which as the Graceful Banker would say, is a matter of whether it produces light, life and love.
3) I can accept them as a person - regardless of their doctrine. This is the choice I usually make, if it seems like we have some things in common, around which we can build a friendship.
If I find a person's doctrine to be objectionable, I have to make the decision about whether it's so horribly weird that I can't possibly be friends with them. I'm not going to say that's never happened - it has. But it's extremely rare.
If want to influence them in any way, (leadership is nothing more than influence) like say in the area of doctrine, I have to build a bridge of relationship with them first. If they're going to heed my instruction, they must first trust me.
If I build a strong enough relationship with them over time, there may come a day when an opportunity arises where I can discuss their beliefs (doctrine) with them. But in every case I can think of - when I tried to correct someone's doctrine before establishing a relationship of trust with them - they rejected my views and continued believing their 'false' doctrine.
Most of the people I respect are accused heretics. I've been accused of heresy more times than I can remember. Some people just don't like our doctrines and that's a shame, because our beliefs should never be a barrier to loving people.
Jan 6, 2013
Dec 31, 2012
Picking up from my last message, I wanted to share something I've never discussed on this blog before. For the past few weeks, it's been hard for me to pray with anyone. Many of you know that on Facebook, I receive a lot of prayer requests. I try to respond to them as soon as possible. But when it comes to praying in person for strangers it's been a struggle. It's been weeks since I prayed for any of my patients.
I'm not sure what happened. I seem to have entered a phase where my motivation to pray for strangers is at an all-time low. I'm still transporting people who need prayer. But my heart just isn't being tugged at like it once was. Or maybe it's being tugged at, but I'm not responding.
I'm in a season of turmoil.
Lately, it seems as if all I want to do is write. I swear, if I could lock myself in a closet for a month, with a laptop and enough coffee to get me through, I'd be perfectly happy. Just think of all the books I could write.
I've been hanging around Jim Palmer too much. Whenever I read his material, I'm inspired to write. And I've been reading a lot of his stuff lately and getting inspired to write more.
So here I am - a frustrated writer trapped inside the body of a busy paramedic.
So I had a dream a few nights ago...
In the dream, I went to visit my ex-wife.
Yes....I have one. And we don't get along very well.
It's a long story.
So I drove to her house. As I approached, I noticed that her driveway and front yard were littered with abandoned cars. I stopped and called her on my phone. When she answered, I could see from my vantage point that she was sitting in the yard at a picnic table, so said, "If I know you, you're probably sitting in the yard at a picnic table."
I drove closer to her house, but I had to maneuver my car carefully around the other cars.
I parked and got out.
"You shouldn't be here," she warned. "I'm going to call the police and have you arrested."
I decided to leave. I got in my car and began to drive carefully out of her driveway. For an instant, it dawned on me that leaving was going to be much more difficult than getting there. The cars and how they were positioned, made it impossible for me to leave the same way I got there.
Then suddenly the whole scene changed. I wasn't in her driveway any longer. I was in what looked like an apartment complex and the ground was covered with new-fallen snow.
There were still cars scattered here and there, but now there were people walking around and I had to avoid hitting them, too. I drove my car slowly, to the far edge of the parking lot and tried to squeeze my way out, next to a building, without hitting anyone, but an man walked in my path and I had to stop. I could tell he was blind.
I had my window down, so I yelled out, "Do you want to be healed?"
He said, "Sure".
So I got out and prayed with him.
That's when the dream ended.
My ex-wife is a sore spot in my life. Our failed marriage is a constant source of pain and regret that I have yet to be healed of.
In the dream, my visit to her place seems to represent God's desire to take a closer look something that's been bugging me from my past. The subject (I think) is not my relationship with my ex-wife, but the difficulty I'm having with my own past and my destiny.
I sense that God is saying that we're all bound to face discouragement, regret and other feelings, which can become obstacles to progress. In the dream, the cars I had to drive around, were obstacles. Regret lives in the past but it can be an obstacle to our future, when we dwell on it. Discouragement likewise affects our future if we allow room for it.
One of the things I'm dealing with is professional discontent. As much as I like my job, there's a part of me that desperately wants to spend more time writing. I feel like my career is preventing me from doing that. The funny thing is - I'm not even sure that my career is a real obstacle. I have plenty of time to write on my days off. It could be that I'm just perceiving it as an obstacle.
The people in the parking lot appeared as obstacles, preventing me from reaching my destination, or so it seemed, until I realized that they have needs which I can meet.
So the real problem I'm dealing with is my perception of obstacles. I see my job as an obstacle to writing, and it's not. I see people as obstacles to my destiny and they're not.
In the dream, the way out of my ex-wife's driveway (and my past) was blocked. It was not the way I would move forward. The only way forward was to get a new perspective on life.
In the midst of my frustration, God seems to be changing my perspective and giving me fresh grace (new-fallen snow) a new direction, and empowering me to do what I'm called to do. Despite my fears and concerns, there are still people who need healing, and there will be more stories to write. And God will provide time for both. These are the things I must focus on.
On a lighter note - my first book will be out soon. Yes, I know you've heard that before, but we're almost done with the editing and since we're self-publishing, it should be available soon. I'm beginning work on the second book - which will be a compilation of stories from this blog and a few stories I've never shared publicly.
I don't have any New Year's resolutions to share with you. But I would greatly appreciate your prayers. I need wisdom and guidance and I need God's purposes to be worked out in my life.
Thanks for dropping by,
Happy New Years!
Dec 28, 2012
After a while she noticed a pattern.
One day as I told her about a suicidal patient we transported that I prayed with, she said, "Honey, I know there's always a good reason when you're late. Haven't you noticed that every time you're late, there's someone you get to pray with or give an encouraging word to? God has these divine appointments for you, and I'm okay with it."
I'd never really considered that. And of course, she was right. I've been keeping an eye on the kind of people we transport after the end of our shift and almost every time, it's someone who needs a touch from God. Today was no exception.
We transported a 64 year old woman with weakness in her right leg for two weeks. She didn't think much of it, but she went to see her primary care doctor who did some blood tests and ordered a CAT scan to be done the following week.
The results from the scan came back. But her doctor didn't tell her what was wrong. He told her to go to an emergency room and have them evaluate her. So she did. The ER discovered that she a large brain tumor. We were transporting her to another hospital for neurosurgery.
We got her loaded and went en route. The freeways were jammed with traffic, so we took surface roads.
She seemed too happy to be a person who just found out she had a brain tumor. I began to wonder if she even knew about it. On a hunch that perhaps they didn't tell her about it, and being concerned that if I mentioned the word 'tumor' she might panic, I decided to find out what she knew.
"So exactly what did they tell you was wrong, if I might ask?"
"Well....they said I had some kind of lesion in my brain."
"Awesome", I thought to myself. "They lied to her."
Well, not technically of course - because strictly speaking - a tumor is a kind of lesion. It just happens to be one of the worst kinds, and they didn't feel like telling her about it.
Life's just seems a little easier when you hide those messy details from people.
I got a set of vitals, then asked my next question.
"Do you believe in divine appointments?"
She looked at me with a smile, "Well...I guess so."
"So do I. And I think you're having one."
I told her about the dreams about praying for my patients and the people who have been healed including a couple of people with tumors.
"So can I pray with you to be healed?"
"I'd like that", she said with a smile.
She didn't feel anything and our mobile CAT scanner was in the shop for repairs, so I don't know if she was healed.
But I know she was blessed. And sometimes that's enough.
Dec 25, 2012
This is a real Christmas miracle story, that happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin, USA.
A little girl named Sarah had leukemia and was not expected to live to see Christmas. Her brother and grandmother went to the mall to ask Mark Lenonard who was a professional Santa Claus to visit the hospital to give Sarah the gift of hope through encouragement and prayer.
A year later Sarah surprised Santa by showing up at the mall where he worked. Here goes the story.
A little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at The Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on Santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl.
“Who is this?” – asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”
“Yes, Santa.” – he replied.
“My sister, Sarah, who is very sick.” – he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” – the child exclaimed.
“She misses you.” – he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
When they finished their visit, the grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
“What is it?” – Santa asked warmly.
“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..” – the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
“The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays.” – she said through tear-filled eyes.
“Is there anyway, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.
“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying?” – he thought with a sinking heart, “This is the least I can do.”
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked Rick, the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.
“Why?” – Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.
“Common….I’ll take you there.” – Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.
The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead.
And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Santa!” – shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.
Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.
Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “Thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.
Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.
Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels, “Oh, yes, Santa… I do!” – she exclaimed.
“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you.” – he said.
Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.
He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, “Silent Night, Holy Night…. all is calm, all is bright…”
The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.
When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.
“Now, Sarah,” – he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”
He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he ‘had’ to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.
“Yes, Santa!” – Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.
Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.
“My only child is the same age as Sarah.” – he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”
They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.
“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”
“Of course, I do.” – Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.
“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”
Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.
“Sarah!” – he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.
He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.
He had witnessed – and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well.
He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”