What's your reaction when someone comes to your door selling something?
Unless it's a small child, I usually decline whatever the offer is and try not to waste their time or mine.
Two older girls came selling to our door tonight and given Talitha's low blood count I just stepped outside to talk to them even though it was a bit cold. The older of the two had a prepared speech as often is the case and I listened politely. One of the girls is from Cincinnati and the other is from Atlanta. They are here in Utah with a group that, according to their story, helps people like themselves escape the inner city "dead-ends" by providing income and a way to go to college.
They explained that they both have children and were "rescued" from dire situations by this group that helps girls like them have a second chance. Of course, the story is designed to pull at the heart strings and encourage people to support them in their quest to earn points (and money) rather than being overly concerned about what it is they are asking you to buy--in this case magazines.
When I interjected and told them about Talitha and explained that we are receiving donations from people to help with the many expenses related to her treatment and recovery and that I didn't feel right about buying something under the circumstances, I learned a valuable lesson from their reaction.
First, the older girl seemed a bit taken back. Now off script, she expressed sincere sympathy. But it was the younger girl--the one that looked like she was 14 but evidently is really 19 and has a two year old boy--that took my breath away. Up to this point she had been extremely shy hardly saying more than a few words and only when asked a question. Suddenly, she looked me in the eyes and literally testified to me of God and how He can get us through any trial no matter how tough it might be. She further stated that she felt our baby would be ok and that she believed God would help our baby and us. She said that God tests us all to see if we will be faithful and she knew this because of the trials she's been through in her life living in such harsh circumstances.
I wish I could quote her exactly. It was so pure, so sincere, so soothing to hear. I just quietly listened and thanked her for helping lift me. She appeared almost apologetic afterward explaining she just felt those words come and had to say them. I could not have been more grateful to her for being so brave and sharing from her heart and I told her as much.
Well, by this time, I figured I better buy one of the magazines and so I asked them to find me one that didn't cost so much.
Imagine my surprise when after fumbling with her brochure for a minute, the older girl finally closed her book and told me she couldn't do it. She wouldn't let me buy from her under the circumstances. And if that wasn't shocking enough, she then reached in her pocket and pulled out a $20 bill to give to me. By this point, both girls were crying--especially the younger one--as they told me they would pray for us and our girl.
I'm not sure if I was more shocked or just plain moved. They tried to insist I take the money they offered but I successfully declined after several attempts. I removed my "Pray for Talitha" wristband and gave it to the younger girl and asked for their names so that I could pray for them too. (I have no idea how to spell their names but phonetically it's approximately "Marquida" and "Shay".)
I hugged them and they were gone before I knew it.
Still in somewhat of a state of shock/wonderment, I simply walked back into our home and wrote a few thoughts about the experience while trying to digest what had just happened. What warmth I feel as I contemplate the goodness of these young girls. I pray that the company they work for isn't just taking advantage of them and others in similar circumstances. But regardless of the facts surrounding the encounter, what I do feel very strongly is that two "homeless" girls bearing burdens larger than they should be carrying at such young ages rose above the stifling circumstances of the world and their own condition to bear witness of a power greater than poverty and greater than a baby's cancer.
Oh, what good can be done in this world by the least likely people, in the least likely ways, and in the least likely places!
And don't we all fit that description?! Aren't we all the least likely? Don't we all fall victim from time to time to that unfortunate thought that there's nothing we can do to change this world for the better?
Well what if we could?! What if we were able to put our "scripted" sales pitches, agendas, fears, anxieties and vulnerabilities aside and just let the words come out that God puts in our mouth. What if we could be just a little more like these two angels that came to our door tonight delivering a little more hope and a little more encouragement to stay true and be believing no matter what.
I don't believe it will be the large, notable acts you hear about in the news that will effect the greatest long-term change for the better (as important as these large efforts are). I think it will be the willingness of individuals to do the "little" things on a consistent, daily basis when no one is watching or when it's not a so called big deal. The sum of such constant good, compounded over time, will be the greatest force for good with a reach far enough to lift all God's children as never before.
Though we look to Christ for salvation from death and sin by virtue of his resurrection and the power of His atonement, it is his daily teachings of simple virtues and the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves that has changed the world and does the most in our modern day to prepare hearts to receive the Good News filled with its saving principles and ordinances.
I'm so grateful for the peace the Lord graciously shared with me tonight. How I hope and pray we might each be willing instruments in the Lord's hands. There's great power for good in it.
(Please pray for Marquida and Shay. Please pray that their burdens might be made lighter and that they and their children may be blessed and helped on their journey.)
Talitha's white blood counts are still zero. The platelets are good now following yesterday's transfusion and the red blood cells continue to remain stable. There's a new number we'll be tracking in preparation for the stem cell harvest. Can't remember the exact name of it--something like CD34--but it needs to get to a 10 before they schedule Talitha for the groin catheter placement and the harvest procedure.
We'll be taking Talitha to the PCMC each morning until we get word that the bone marrow counts are sufficient but not overly "mature". Evidently, the window for this harvesting is quite narrow and that explains the need for daily measurements.