“Last spring, my mother underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer and was placed in a shared recovery room with a lovely elderly woman. When Mom would wake up disoriented and in pain, I’d try to make her as comfortable as possible, but despite my prayers, all I could really do was watch her suffer.
“The second morning I came in to visit, I heard the woman, who was in the bed closest to the window, describing the beautiful dogwood tree that was in bloom in the hospital’s courtyard. From the other side of the privacy curtain she told my mom about how the dogwood tree used to grow tall and strong, but after it was used to build the cross Jesus was crucified on, the tree never grew mighty again—it stayed weak and twisted. But Jesus still loved the pitiful tree and blessed it with soft pink or white blooms that represent His sacrifice. ‘With love,’ she said, ‘even the most dreadful things can become beautiful.’
“The woman’s story distracted Mom from her pain and she even smiled a little. The next day, the woman was sent home, so I went to the empty side of the room to see this magnificent tree…all I saw was a brick wall. ‘How does it look?’ Mom asked. I smiled as my heart overflowed and said, ‘Absolutely beautiful.’”
—Annie Miller, 41, Dallas