Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ripples of Healing

A few months ago I wrote about a man I met on a day when he "wasn't kickin' too high." The second time I ran into the stranger, he cried in my arms in the middle of a busy hallway and told me that after 8 years of being cancer-free, the cancer had returned. My heart broke for him as I watched the pure anguish on his face.

A few weeks after that very unexpected interaction, the fella came to see me. He wanted to apologize for breaking down in front of me, just a strange young girl who asked how he was. I cut the man off mid-sentence and asked him to hold on, that I had something for him. Ever since he confessed to me that he had already made up his mind to refuse treatment if the cancer had metastasized throughout his body, I knew what I needed to do. I ran back to my purse and grabbed the lucky rock Julie's mom had given me. I ran back into the room, grabbed the man's hand, and placed the lucky rock into his palm. I quickly said, as my voice began to shake, "I've been in your shoes. This was given to me by a woman who means a lot to me, it brought me good results. It's your turn now." The man began to cry. He hugged me and we said our goodbyes.

I didn't forget about the stranger. In fact, he crossed my mind a lot. I knew he was no spring chicken, but with an attitude like his, I had faith he would fight. I just hoped I would hear from him again.

This afternoon I received a call at work from the front desk secretary. She told me there was a man in the waiting room asking to speak with me. That's not really that unusual as doctors send patients down quite often to coordinate their appointments. She said it wasn't for a patient. Odd.

I walked into the waiting room and the stranger stood up. I immediately hugged him. We may not even know each others last name, but we shared a moment. I expressed how excited I was to run into him again. He cut me off and grabbed my hand. In it, he placed the lucky rock, and held my hand. "I was so touched the last time I saw you that I didn't comprehend that you had cancer too. I came to bring you the lucky stone back because I had my surgery, the mass was benign, the cancer is not back." I yelped and pulled him into a hug.

Even as I listened to him talk about how he's so much older than I am, how cancer is supposed to happen to people his age, not mine, I couldn't get over what was happening at that very moment. This stranger actually kept a rock given to him by some random girl he was likely to never see again. Not only did he keep it, he told me it brought him comfort when he needed it, but now it was time for me to have it back, that it's my turn for a little luck.

Honestly, when I gave him the stone I really thought that was the last of it. I figured he would remember me for a sweet gesture and that would be that. To see him today, to hear him say the words that the cancer is not back, to have that lucky rock returned after it brought him comfort during the months filled with fear, that was a feeling I won't soon forget.

Two strangers. One lucky rock. Two lives forever changed.

Life sure is sweet.

(To read the previous post about this man: click here)


Unknown said...

Absolutely amazing and so powerful a story it brought tears of happiness (and wonder! Wow!!). Thank you for sharing!

Wendy said...

What a heartwarming story! ❤️ stories of hope like this!

Wendy said...

I ❤️ heartwarming stories like this! Beautiful story!

Mark said...

Wonderful story. Chills my friend chills!

Strong Steph said...

Chelsea, you are so generous and kind!!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely beautiful!