Monday, August 10, 2015

The Legend of PrayerBear

You may be wondering what happened to this crazy redhead the past few months.  This summer my daughter underwent major surgery. It was an extraordinarily stressful time for my husband and I. Leading up to the surgery, my stress levels were so high, I could not think beyond how many days were left until surgery, much less think of writing a single word for the blog.

While we were confident our daughter had the very best surgeon and was in the best hospital to attend to her needs, the doubts and "what ifs" still somehow crept in. In the days leading up to the surgery, I could not fathom how I could possibly handle watching as the hospital staff wheeled my daughter away. I did the only thing I knew to do during this time:  I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. 

My little girl made me make a promise a few days prior to surgery. She made me promise I would not cry in front of her when they wheeled her off to surgery. I agreed, even though I wasn't sure I could keep that promise..... but I was determined to give it all I had. 

As she was wheeled back for surgery, her prayers were answered and I did not shed a tear. For the next nearly 7 hours, I prayed, and chatted with one of our church's ministers. And then I prayed, and walked to the hospital's chapel and prayed some more. As I walked back to my seat in the parents' surgical waiting area, the surgeon walked through the doors beaming from ear to ear. Our baby was on the road to recovery.

One day while she was still in the hospital recuperating, she had a particularly rough morning. The nurse gave her some medication to ease her symptoms, which also had the side benefit of helping her sleep. While she napped, I stepped out into a parent lounging area to update my parents on her condition.

I was on the phone with my parents and watched as hospital volunteers quietly dropped off a teddy bear to her room. They giggled as they came out of her room, thrilled a child would wake up to their surprise gift. I smiled and got a bit choked up at the delight these 2 women took in bringing cheer to sick and injured children.

A short time later my husband arrived with our son, so he could visit with his sister. As we walked in, our daughter was just rousing from her nap. She immediately laid eyes on a lovely creamy white teddy bear which had been placed on the bed tray in front of her.

She squealed with delight over waking up to this adorable stuffed creation and, upon lifting it up, discovered a book had come with the bear. I read aloud the name of the book "The Legend of PrayerBear" by Annie Miller. My daughter said immediately "That's my bear's name. PrayerBear", and then asked me to read the book to her.

I sat down and read this beautiful and touching story of a bear that just wanted someone to love and hug. I was doing a great job of holding my tears inside over this heartwarming tale until I got to the last page.

I barely made it through the first line on the page when all of the tears I had held so tightly inside started escaping the vise-like control I'd kept on them. I stopped reading for a moment and took a deep breath, trying to get hold of myself. 

The story had taken a twist when PrayerBear had been given to a young girl who was in the hospital and was sad because she wasn't well enough to be able to get up and about. This story was hitting so close to home, I was having no success controlling my emotions. When I got to the final 2 paragraphs of the story, the proverbial floodgates opened wide:

          "I thank you for my PrayerBear,
            And for the friend so dear
            Who cared enough to send it
            To remind me God is near.

            Every time I feel afraid
            I'll hug my PrayerBear tight
            For I have friends who care for me,
            And I will be all right."

Christie Bielss

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