My sister, Marianne Pugh Jackson, is in the final stages of cancer. As a family of faith we still believe in miracles but also realize that this may very well be the time God chooses to call her home.
Like many other families of Christian faith who are dealing with similar grief and anxiety for a loved one, you become acutely aware of God’s grace being revealed through others. You can’t help but become humble and grateful for the love and acts of kindness shown by your church, family, friends, co-workers, community, medical personnel and even strangers. It’s a gift so great that it penetrates your darkness and you feel uplifted and stronger because of it.
About a month ago, my niece Amanda, who had been sitting by her mother’s bedside day and night at Duke University Hospital, was taking detailed notes from the doctors, encouraging her mother and father to be strong, to fight this terrible foe that had intruded into their lives, and not to give up hope. But this particular day the burden of her mother’s illness became so overwhelming that she went to the hospital cafeteria, retreated to a far corner and began to sob uncontrollably.
A complete stranger, a young woman came over, put her arm around Amanda’s shoulder and said, “You don’t know me but I work at Chick-fil-A and I am so sorry for your suffering.” Amanda was touched by the woman’s kindness and began to pour out her heart. The lady then reached in her pocket, pulled out a small cross, and handed it to Amanda. She told her that she would be praying for her and her family.
Sometimes being a Christian takes courage to reach out to others, not knowing how you will be received. This beautiful stranger answered God’s call and did a wonderful job.
There is an angel at work in Durham, and with all the flak that Chick-fil-A has received this past year, I felt this was a story that needed to be told.