Looking down one day
running my finger across my stomach
and discovering a lump there.
A marble-sized lump.
Hoped to God it wasn’t anything
like maybe it was a big subterranean zit that would eventually pop and drain away.
But it didn’t drain away.
And I waited a couple of weeks before showing it to my parents
and begged them not to touch it
but Dad did anyway
to feel for himself that something was wrong.
And from there
we set up a few doctors’ appointments
which ended in a meeting with Dr. Henry Farrar
a happy man
And Dr. Farrar wasn’t completely sure what the thing was
but thought it would be better to cut it out
or something like that.
And so we scheduled a surgery for right before Christmas
in order to give me time to heal
before basketball practice started back up.
And I was super-nervous about the whole thing
but tried not to show it
Until the day I checked into the hospital.
I probably showed it then.
And I rested for that entire afternoon in my hospital bed.
but glad I had a room to myself.
Not like in the movies where you had a roommate
where you had to lie on a cot in a ward full of wounded soldiers.
And after awhile
a hospital person came into the room to shave my stomach.
And I wished I had something to make his job worthwhile
but there was only peach fuzz.
And then I was alone.
And after what seemed like the longest night of my life
the sun came up and
And I wondered why in the world surgery had to take place at the crack of dawn
but was glad to get it over with.
And my parents walked into the room
and I looked at dad and asked him what he was doing there
because I thought he should probably be on campus grading papers or something
and he said he wanted to be there.
And that’s when I knew it was serious
more serious than having a cavity filled.
And I took a deep breath
remembering that I’d already prayed about everything.
And an orderly or two wheeled me off to the operating room
where a man put a black mask over my face and told me to count backwards from 5
but I got a late start and only got to the number 4
before my world turned to black.
And I opened my eyes
what seemed like
a few moments later
and they were wheeling me back to my room.
And pretty soon I felt a soreness in my belly
like God’s own fury.
And a nurse handed me some pills.
But not enough.
I could have used about three more of them
every hour or so.
And then …
this might be the best part.
the visitors began to come.
They streamed through the door of my hospital room
so many that we should have installed a number dispenser on the wall
Now serving number 43!
Men and women from church.
Brother Dale Foster our preacher.
Parents of my friends.
So much caring
so much loving.
Someone even brought me a Frosty from Wendy’s.
It was then that I realized …
I was not alone in all of this.
I was a part of something bigger.