I am not a very religious person, considering my dad is a United Methodist minister. I do pray every day; sometimes once, sometimes 150 times. I do not go to church very often, but when I do, I love it. But I get busy with other things in life, and I believe God is always with me, wherever I go.
If you’ve read my blog Welcome to South Dakota, http://ourpurpleelephant.com/2017/08/05/welcome-to-south-dakota/, you understand some of the trials and tribulations we went through during our cross country trip in August of 2016. I did leave out some bits of the story that may explain how we were all able to keep ourselves together (more or less), and how I am able to focus on the positive.
In the first couple of days after Bella was admitted to the hospital, I was engrossed with the medications and the scientific methods the doctors and nurses were using to regain control of her seizures and keep her safe.
The hospital we were in was beautiful. It had an enormous, open entry way with a player piano and high, high ceilings. We had to pass by the chapel to get to our hotel. I didn’t go in, but seeing it did remind me to pray. I prayed, but I was still in my “mama bear” mode, as my family likes to call it. I was mainly focused on stopping her seizures.
When my parents came to the hospital, of course we all said a prayer together. One of my parents (sorry, Mom & Dad… I don’t remember which one) stopped by the chapel and spoke with the lady chaplain. She came up to Bella’s room. I believe Bella was still intubated; I know she was definitely still asleep. The chaplain said the most heart-felt prayer. We stood in a circle and held hands with one another. We all felt His spirit, and I felt so much comfort. We knew everything would be okay. After the chaplain left, Bella’s nurse for the day entered the room. I was afraid we had taken too much time, and she needed to attend to her tasks. The nurse, however, gave a warm hug. She was amazed at the spirit she felt in the room, and commended my family for being so strong together. She was tearful, and not in a rush for anything. She just wanted to let us know that she had prayed with us.
As the days went on, I spent a little more time praying. I took off my “mama bear” hat, and I really put my trust in God. I spent some time in the chapel.
One of the last days we were there, Cass and I found a plaque while we were searching for something different to eat. The plaque said:
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Reading these words lifted our spirits, and once again reminded us to be positive, and to have faith.
We were in this hospital for 12 days. During that time, we all took turns leaving the room, and walked about the hospital for some fresh air. The chapel was in the main area of the hospital. Not one of us saw the chaplain again.
When Bella was released, we were all (8 of us, including Bella) parading toward the exit. Bella was very weak, and she was being pushed in a wheelchair. We practically brushed shoulders with the chaplain as she was walking past us. Bella had been sleeping the day she came and said that prayer, but Bella’s face lit up immediately. She was suddenly more awake than we had seen her since entering the hospital. She gave the woman a hug and started talking about church. Now, mind you, Bella loves going to church. She went to church frequently with my parents in Las Vegas. But this chaplain; this chaplain was in plain clothes. Bella had not ever seen her before; she was sleeping when the chaplain had been in her room. We had never been in Sioux Falls, South Dakota before. Of all the people we passed, how did Bella connect this woman with church?
If that wasn’t awe-inspiring enough, the chaplain then took a moment to speak with us. She told us that Bella reminded her of Amma, the famous hugger from India.I almost fell over. This woman had only received one small, weak hug from Bella. Since Bella was a toddler, she has hugged everyone she meets, much to my chagrin. I have often apologized only to be met with a warm smile. Rarely is there a time when someone doesn’t appreciate a hug from Bella. From the scary biker guy wearing spikes around his neck, to the frail elderly grandmother whose sad frown turned into a smile that could light up the Vegas skies; Bella hugs anyone she thinks looks like they could use a lift.
Bella carries within her a happy spirit. This is not to say she doesn’t ever get grumpy, but when she is ill, or when anyone else is ill, her faith in God, and her unconditional love keep everyone around her feeling positive. If you question why or how we keep focusing on the blessings in our life, Bella is the biggest reason of all. She doesn’t get down, so, why should we?
- Learn more about Amma here: http://amma.org