His Sparrow

Luke 12:6-7Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.


After six months of discomfort, and awkwardness, from having breast expanders implanted in my chest; the day that drives the “I am finished” stake of defeating breast cancer into the ground arrived.  This would be the day of the great “exchange”.  Exchanging the breast expanders for permanent implants would be a hallelujah day for me.   This morning, September 12, 2012, with much excited anticipation, Bill and I gathered our things to make the final trip to MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I only carried the clothes on my back and my driver’s license while Bill on the other hand looked like a pack mule to deliver a month of supplies to a lost city in the mountains, as he loaded the car with two computers, Ipad, cell phone and several power cords.  I could tell he was anticipating long hours in the waiting area and wanted to take full advantage of the quiet work time.

The plan for the day was for me to drive to the hospital so that he could begin his workday on the phone.  It became apparent as I pulled onto Interstate 10 that there wasn’t a soul on the road that knew and understood my need and anxiousness to arrive at the hospital on time.  Therefore, no driver offered to move out of the way to clear a way.  We quickly pulled into the HOV lane, which was a little faster but at times slowed to a snail’s pace.  I had not eaten or drank anything since the night before, coupled with the fact that I missed my morning coffee addiction, so my body began to complain and whine.  I could feel the tension in my neck as the headache silently traveled up the back of my neck to the crown of my head.  My appointment for check in was at 9:30am, which is when I pulled into the parking garage.   Bill suggested that I get out at patient drop off and he would park the car and I gladly took his offer.  I stood at the elevator bank for 5-6 minutes before a crew of elevator servicemen stepped off in front of me.  They had several of the elevators shut down for repair, which added unwanted delay to my time line.  I thought to myself, “That does it.  I am officially late and they will probably cancel my surgery”.

I scurried off the elevator onto the fifth floor and began trying to navigate my way through the alphabet of elevator banks.  I was looking for “Elevator F”.  I began at Elevator “A”.  The distance between each elevator bank was a minimum length of a football field winding around like a rat maze.  Stopping to ask for directions two times along the way and watching the clock, my head began to further pound.  Arriving ten minutes late at surgery check-in, the two women stood as I opened the door and began quickly shuffling papers for signature.  They were very polite but I felt tension which I am sure was self-induced.  Once the paperwork was complete, I was ushered back to the surgical prep area where I found my lovely, bed, gown, hair cap, and the very obtrusive vitals machine.

I stood silently overlooking the bed trying to collect my thoughts when in popped Joyce.  I can call her Joyce instead of Mrs. Williams or Nurse Williams because Joyce and I made an instant connection.  She had a smile that lit up the room and a twinkle in her eye that told me this is a woman of great faith.  We exchanged salutations and then proceeded to get down to business.  Joyce hooked me up to the blood pressure machine and quickly learned that my blood pressure was in the “red” and would need to lower before I could have surgery.  Thus the explanation for the pounding head- ache was understood.  Joyce told Bill, who had arrived later behind us, to pull up a chair and get comfortable because we would be there longer as we needed to wait for the blood pressure to lower into a safe zone.  Joyce was there to prep me for surgery but that wasn’t the business that we attended to over the next two hours.

She and Bill also found a kindred spirit at they joked and laughed about the fact that her real job was janitor, pushing a broom.  This thirty-year nurse veteran told us how she told her patients that she was actually a promoted janitor.  She explained that inserting an IV needle is the same motion used when pushing a broom.  Demonstrated to us by pulling her arms back and pushing forward, she laughed recalling some of the expressions on patience faces when she shared this with them.  One thing led to another when quietly she asked me what is my favorite hymn.  I told her that Amazing Grace would certainly take a top spot as I thought of others that I dearly love.  Joyce took a seat beside my bed as the blood pressure machine made its occasional hiss, she began to quietly sing in a mellow tenor voice,  Amazing Grace, directly to me.  When the last verse was finished, she picked up in our conversation sharing her personal story of breast cancer.  She too is a survivor at MD Anderson having one breast removed, without reconstruction.

Joyce spoke of the importance of having the breast cancer gene screen (BRCA) performed for our daughters.  Also, Joyce shared how she hesitated to have the test because she didn’t want her daughters to be burdened by the news of an almost certain diagnosis for them if her test came back positive.  She contemplated the pull of a mother’s love and concern for not wanting to burden her daughters with a positive report vs. feeling selfish for not having the test and being able to allow them to make a decision to have their breasts removed.Breast Cancer is a terrible disease.  However, Joyce spoke with such joy about all that she had been through.  I listened intently and thought of all that I had been through as well.  I began to thank God for placing me there at that moment with Joyce and Bill.  I felt the presence of the Lord ministering to me through Joyce as Bill asked her to sing her favorite hymn.  The words are so beautiful and the message of this song solidified in truth, my heart wants to share:


Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Joyce’s job was complete with me.  Tears rolled down my cheeks, knowing that God sent her to deliver his word of truth to me, His Sparrow.   The hissing machine indicated my blood pressure moving closer and closer to the safety zone.  Joyce began to gather her things to leave.  I asked if I would see her again after surgery and her answer was “likely not”.  God places people in our paths every day to minister His truth and love.  Today, that person was my new found sister in Christ, Joyce.  The “I am Finished” stake was about to be driven in my fight against Cancer as the anesthesiologist wheeled His Sparrow down the hallway to surgery.  His eye is on the sparrow, and He graciously watches over you and me.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”  John 14:1