Today, I was grateful that the Lord had filled my lantern in several different ways.
I was at work, but today, because of blessed standardized testing (note the sarcasm), I was in the counseling office answering phones and doing remedial office work-It.was.awesome. If all I had to do all day was file papers, answer phones, look cute, and think of something funny to say to students as they waited to get into trouble, my life would be perfect. I will be there tomorrow. I am in substitute teaching heaven.
Anyways, I was sitting there, checking the spelling on the diplomas of the graduating class of 2011 when a woman walked in and in Spanish asked to see her son. I explained that he was in testing and she said that he was a junior (they weren't testing today) and that they had a doctor's appointment. She had a skirt and a matching blouse on, but had a dew-rag on her head. I thought it was strange, but I have seen odder things, so I went about the process of locating her son and getting him to her.
As I continued to check the spelling of the worlds most awful names (a subject for another post), I looked up and noticed that she was watching me. I smiled. She smiled back and I thought I saw the glint of a tear. I asked her if she was alright, and she burst into tears. I rushed to the other side of the desk where she was sitting, put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong.
'Its just that this might be the last time I come to pick my son up from school.' she cried.
'Why would you think that?' I asked.
' I have brain cancer, I don't know how much longer I am going to live.' was her reply. Then she added, 'I am so tired.'
I started to tear up with her. I confided in her that my own mother had just been diagnosed with cancer and that she too was much more tired than she used to be. I asked her the treatments she was on, and was not shocked to find that they were some of the same ones my mother had done. I told her that my mom was just now, a few months after her treatments, starting to get her energy, and that she couldn't think like she was going to be gone. I told her that there was power in faith, that she needed to believe she was going to get better and in doing so she WOULD get better. I promised her that if she would have faith in God's plan for her that everything would work out for the best, but asked her to be strong for her children, because they needed her to believe that she was going to be alright.
As I spoke with her, she was calmed. I recognized the familiar, 'Asi es' and 'Amen Señor' phrases that I heard so often as a missionary, and right on cue, as she was wiping the tears from her eyes, her son walked in. She stood up, he put his arm around her, and she said, 'Que el Señor te bendiga.' May the Lord bless you.
I thought a lot today about the different things that prepared me for just that moment...The countless hours on my mission comforting those who stood in need of comfort, learning to speak the language and say things in a way that people would understand, hundreds of hours in university classrooms, hours on my knees pleading for my own mother's life...
And one night, preparing a talk for sacrament.