It all started with my neighbor Vickie. She texted me Monday afternoon, as a summer thunderstorm rumbled through Summerville bringing us lots and lots of rain. Since we are both gardeners rain makes us very happy.
Vickie texted “Rain, yeah!” and I texted back: “I know! I am SO HAPPY! I was dreading watering this evening with this suffocating humidity! Happiness is a summer shower!” Vickie then texted back: “Smells wonderful!!!!”
I took a deep breath and breathed in the scent of fresh rain. I had forgotten (until Vickie mentioned it) just how wonderful an aroma it is! Even with my smell and taste senses slightly challenged by long periods of past chemo infusions and now oral daily chemo pills …I could still detect that alluringly refreshing scent.
Suddenly a true story came flooding back to me that I have posted a couple of times over the past seven years…but I would like to share it again (like I did with Vickie in our last text Monday)…
The Smell of Rain
A cold March wind danced around Dallas as the doctor walked into Diana Blessing’s small hospital room. It was the dead of night and she was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That rainy afternoon, March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only twenty-four weeks pregnant, to undergo emergency surgery. At twelve inches long and weighing only one pound, nine ounces, Danae Lu arrived by cesarean delivery.
They already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. “I don’t think she’s going to make it,” he said as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10 percent chance she will live through the night. If by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.” Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae could face if she survived.
She would probably never walk, or talk, or see. She would be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of drugged sleep. But she was determined that their daughter would live to be a happy, healthy young girl. David, fully awake, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.
David told Diana that they needed to talk about funeral arrangements. But Diana said, “No, that is not going to happen. No way! I don’t care what the doctors say, Danae is not going to die. One day she will be just fine and she will be home with us.”
As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour. But as those first rainy days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially “raw,” the least kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby. All they could do, as Danae struggled beneath the ultraviolet light, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
At last, when Danae was two months old, her parents were able to hold her for the first time. Two months later, she went home from the hospital just as her mother predicted, even though doctors grimly warned that her chances of leading a normal life were almost zero.
Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no sign of any mental or physical impairment. But that happy ending is not the end of the story.
One blistering summer afternoon in 1996 in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap at the ball park where her brother’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was busy chattering when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked her mom, “Do you smell that?”
Smelling the air and detecting a thunderstorm approaching, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.”
Danae closed her eyes again and asked, “Do you smell that?”
Once again her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain.”
Caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulder and loudly announced, “No, it smells like him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”
Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae happily hopped down to play with the other children before the rain came. Her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and the rest of the Blessing family had known all along. During those long days and nights of the first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive to be touched, God was holding Danae on his chest, and it is His scent that she remembers so well.
I would love to think that God smelled like a recent rain shower…so fresh, clean, and inviting. It got me thinking of other scents I could easily associate with our Creator…scents that I love.
- Old books…not new ones (along with old libraries)
- *Freshly cut grass
- fresh mountain air
- new car
- fresh rain
- newborn baby
I imagine that God will be exactly what we think and imagine…smelling and looking like our favorite things in life.
*If you have a minute…let me know what one of your favorite scents in life is.
*And speaking of the smell of freshly cut grass Tim, my wonderful grass cutter (and fireman) cut my grass for me yesterday afternoon and when he finished he said he had some news he needed to tell me. His wife, Stephanie needs surgery…a hysterectomy…and after much prayer he has decided to stop cutting lawns on the side until she has completely recovered…their third child, a little boy, is still just a baby and Stephanie won’t be able to lift him for the first few weeks.
Tim has someone else set up to help me keep my grass cut until he can return. I assured him…that this was no problem and then asked him if it was okay to ask all of you (blog readers) to say a prayer for his family as they face this challenge in their daily lives.
He was so grateful for the gesture. Tim is such a hard-working young man and as I have discovered, like all firemen, he must find other ways to supplement his income. All prayers for a successful surgery and complete recovery for Stephanie will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
*Later yesterday afternoon I walked around the yard where Tim had just cut…and that wonderful aroma of freshly cut grass enveloped me. Thanks God.
Yesterday I also had a chance to meet Walsh, my oldest son for lunch on Daniel Island and we got to ride out to see how his and Mollie’s house is coming along…it is coming along very well it appears.
Meanwhile Mollie and the boys are having fun in New Hampshire…peeking out of tents! Tell Nana and Papa hello!
So until tomorrow: Here is a new word for a great meaning.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh