In September of 2006, I went into the hospital for abdominal surgery. I had been sick for about nine months before that with ulcers and all of the medications they tried did not heal them. So I had part of my stomach and small intestine removed to get rid of the ulcers.
About two days after the surgery, I was walking, very slowly, in the hallways pulling my IV pole. I passed by a pretty young lady about 16 years old who was also walking. As I passed by I jokingly said, "I'd have a race with you, but you would leave me in the dust." I noticed that she had a little stuffed "angel bear" hanging from her IV pole. I commented on how cute it was and she told me one of her friends from school had given it to her. She told me she was in the 11th grade in high school and was on the soccer team and in the band. She was also battling a type of colon cancer for which she had just had surgery to remove a tumor. She was a happy, positive, outgoing young person and she was a joy to talk with. After visiting in the hallway for a few minutes, she said she had to get back to her room because several of her friends from school were coming in to visit. As I watched her walk down the hall, I whispered a prayer for her healing.
Two days later, Carl and I went for a walk downstairs to the hospital cafeteria. When I came back to my room, there on my bedside table sat the little "angel bear". Next to it was a note written on a paper towel. It said "I wanted to give you my "angel bear". I won't be needing it now. I am going home and hope to be back in school next week. Good luck to you." As I looked at the bear closely, it didn't look like a new store bought bear. I wondered if possibly someone had passed it on to her and it came with its own story.
I hung the angel bear on my IV pole and it stayed there until I went home where he then sat on my nightstand. I felt like God wanted me to pass it on, and I was just waiting for Him to show me the right time and right person.
A few weeks later, I went to visit a young woman that I have known since she was a baby. Her name was Jennifer. She was 30 years old. She was full of spunk from the time she was born. She was an awesome mother who loved her children with a passion. After the birth of her third baby, Keaton, she just didn't bounce back to health. Her blood counts weren't normal. She was very tired. After much testing she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer.
But, she was a fighter and she pushed through, doing all she could to see that her daughter Darcyne and son Daynin got settled into a new house and a good school. All along caring for baby Keaton as she grew weaker and weaker. I so admired Jenny and her determination and fighting spirit.
Chemotherapy weakened Jenny and she was admitted to the hospital. When I went to see her I saw how very sick she was and again witnessed her incredible inner strength. After visiting her, I knew that God wanted me to pass on the "angel bear" to Jenny. The next day I gave her the bear. And we cried and we prayed and we read from the bible. Oh how I came to love Jenny.
On Christmas Eve, Carl and I went with Pastor Steve to serve communion to Jenny in her bed. The "angel bear" was there. It was a Christmas Eve that will forever be etched in my memory. A short time later Jenny flew into the arms of Jesus. She left the "angel bear" here for she is in the company of ten thousand angels now.
This past Sunday, Jenny's grandmother brought a small bag to church and handed it to me. She said "I thought you might like to have this." When I opened the bag, there was "the angel bear"! Tears spilled onto the soft fur and the pink silk wings as I thought about how God was using this little "angel bear".
But isn't that how God's love is? Ongoing. From the beginning of time through eternity. One day I will be in the company of ten thousand angels visiting with Jenny and all those who I have loved that have gone before me. But until then, I will share His love with as many people as I can.
And so it is with little "angel bear." I don't know how many lives it has touched or how many it will touch, but God does. He knows where it started and He knows where it will go next. For now, it will sit on my nightstand, waiting for God to show me who He wants me to pass it on to. And the Father's love goes on and on and on.