Counting Her Stitches, Counting Her Blessings

Counting her stitches, counting her blessings

By Sharon Sheppard

Until three years ago, then 77-year-old Elaine Davis, a retired nurse, enjoyed a fulfilling life.  She felt blessed to have a close family, wonderful friends, a part-time job at a yarn shop, and plenty of interests to occupy her time: reading, knitting, and watching the Minnesota Twins.

But then she received a diagnosis of stage four ovarian cancer.  She had five major surgeries within nine days, but little could be done to stem the progress of her advanced cancer.  Expecting to die within a week or ten days, Elaine transferred to St. Benedict’s Center Hospice Care, where, amazingly, her condition stabilized.  Now, three years later, she’s still there.

Before she became ill, Elaine had been a popular speaker for Christian Women’s Clubs and women’s retreats.  So after she settled in at St. Benedict’s, some women from her church asked if she would be their retreat speaker.  Though Elaine knows she will never again move from her bed without the help of a hydraulic lift, her friends know that she still has plenty of wisdom to impart.

Staff cheerfully accommodated the group by bringing extra chairs into her room, and ten women gathered to hear her talk on How to have peace and joy in difficult circumstances.  Word spread, and from her bed she has now spoken to 18 groups.  “Never have I had so many opportunities to share my faith,” Elaine says.

Her face glows as she talks about her personal relationship with God and the many ways He has provided for her every need.  Her positive attitude and radiant demeanor make Elaine a valued confidante for staff members, who often visit her after their shifts are over.   She teaches them how to knit and has several one-on-one Bible studies each week with her newfound friends.

Elaine has even become a favorite with visiting canines.  Every other Thursday a volunteer brings in dogs to patients who request visits. When they reach the second floor, the volunteer lets go of the leash and Christopher Robin makes a beeline for Elaine’s room for a long snuggle.   The feelings are mutual.

None of us would choose Elaine’s circumstances, but the peace her faith brings is so genuine no one is doubting that it’s real.

So for now, she flips on the Twins and picks up a ball of yarn to knit mittens for needy school children.  For now she is content.  Counting her stitches.  Counting her blessings.

 

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