Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Invasion of the Girl Scouts

The relative calm of the dining room at Brookfield, Illinois’, British Home was shattered by an invasion of Girl Scouts last Friday night. The normally sedate geriatric crowd was wheeling up to the dinner tables in anticipation of a plate of sodium-free meatloaf, gravy, potatoes, and veggies, when thirty eager smock-wearing young ladies were escorted in by their mothers. They huddled in the corner of the room, opened their sheet music, and launched into a rousing rendition of Christmas carols. The girls did a nice job of singing, and those patients who could pay attention seemed to enjoy the performance.

My first instinct when confronted with such a situation is to bolt for the nearest door. A gaggle of girls under the age of ten singing their hearts out had as much promise of musical entertainment as did a couple of mating cats. We were preparing to leave for the evening. I had just spent a long day visiting with my father while the Boss and kids explored a local children’s museum. Since joining scouts as both a leader and a scout dad, I knew that we needed to support our fellow scouts, even if they were girls. Plus, sitting through their performance fulfilled a Wolf Scout requirement for Major Havoc, and it was free. So we remained to attend this impromptu holiday concert.

As our family sat around a dining table listening, I noticed a Girl Scout mom looking at my mother. They were whispering to one another behind the video camera that she was pointing at the girls. The woman’s name was Diane, and she worked with my mom at the hospital. Moments later something happened that was amazing. Diane looked over my mother’s shoulder to a young girl sitting by herself on a chair. It was Captain Chaos, and she was playing with a toy while singing along with the songs that she recognized. Every once in awhile she would look up at us and smile, and then something would grab her attention and she’d look the other way. Diane looked at the Captain, then at my mom. She looked back to the Captain and then mouthed to my mom, “Is that the Captain?”

My mom looked at Diane, smiled, and said, “Yes.”

Then Diane burst into tears.

Five years ago, when the Captain was in the hospital for her heart defect, people all over the world were praying for her. Diane was one of those people. She received regular updates on the Captain’s condition through my mom, and went home each night and prayed for our daughter. Apparently, she never stopped. Not only has she been praying for the Captain all of this time, but she had her young daughter praying for the Captain, too. Then one night, while escorting her daughter and her daughter’s girl scout troop through a nursing home to sing Christmas carols for the residents of the facility, she looked across the room at a bright, happy, energetic (and really cute) young girl and saw the very person for whom she had been praying.

Sometimes, moments like that bring tears.

After the concert was finished and the girls moved on, Diane remained behind with her daughter for pictures with the Captain. Of course, my daughter had absolutely no idea why they were so interested in her. The Boss is convinced that one day Captain Chaos will look at us and ask, “Why do people know me everywhere we go?” I took the opportunity to thank Diane. Long ago, I discovered that simple words are the most effective in expressing the inexpressible. The most dynamic words in the English language fail to capture the depths of my gratitude for their selfless act of praying for a sick girl (an unknown granddaughter of a co-worker) for half a decade. So, I simply told her, “Thank you for all of the prayers you offered for Captain Chaos.” That brought more tears. In my heart, I hoped that God blesses Diane and her family ten times over for each and every prayer they offered for my daughter.

God answers prayers. It took Diane five years to see the result of her prayers, and it came at the most unexpected moment, but God showed her the that He is listening.

He is listening to you, too.


Michelle said...

I am crying sitting here and reading that. The power of His love and our Pray is strong and wonderful!! God Bless!


Oklahoma Granny said...

What a lovely story. Christmas blessings to you, your family, and Diane's.

TobyBo said...

I am so glad you stayed for the concert. :)

tsinclair said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas, seeing how amazing God is and how he can work in our lives. Merry Christmas!

Kathleen said...

An amazing story, Arby! I'm so glad God allowed your paths to cross so you both could so fully experience answered prayer!! What an amazing gift you have in your little girl!!

Eat, Fart and Bark said...

That was beautiful. I'm tearing. What a blessing for Diane to see Captain. She is an amazing little sweetheart.

P.s. Let us know when you are back in Apathy.
Merry Christmas to you all.

CrossView said...

"even if they were girls" - *gasp*

What a sweet blessing for your family! And what a great reminder when praying for a stranger...