Arms and Awards

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 WEB)

On our first furlough Beth, Joel and Ellice spent most of their time in our furlough mission home and with the small Bible Church in O’Fallon, Missouri while I was out visiting churches, pastors and supporters. Since Beth was pregnant this worked well. She could establish a permanent obstetrician and get things in order about the house. Ellice was in school. She attended J.L. Mudd Elementary School.

J.L. Mudd Elementary School was a short bus trip from our home. Each morning we watched Ellice walk down the street to the corner and wait for the familiar yellow colored Blue Bird school bus. Why they called them Blue Bird buses when they were yellow is a mystery. There were other young children in the neighborhood so Ellice had the chance to make friends at home and at school. Unlike Guam she was just one of the crowd, not a pale faced foreigner.

Along with school Ellice and Joel were busy with the Awana programs at the church. The church, although small, was filled with gracious loving hearts ready and willing to share the Gospel and ministry with as many as possible. Each week Ellice and Joel would sing, play games, learn verses and get to know the other children in the church and neighborhood. Beth was also part of the teaching and fun each week.

Ellice and Joel had a blast and earned a number of awards during the year. One highlight was to attend the awards night. In the spring there was a big night planned and Ellice was to receive a special award. She was excited all day and could hardly wait.

Just after dinner she went outside to play on the swing set. There was still an hour before the ceremony. I glanced out the window watched as she started walking slowly back toward the house. The look on her face made it obvious something was wrong. Her joyous smile was gone and she looked serious.

Ellice came in and told us she fell from the swing. At first she didn’t want to say anything because she wanted to go to the ceremony. Her arm hurt. We looked at the arm, considered waiting until after the ceremony but it was obvious a visit to the Emergency Room was necessary.

I drove her to the hospital in St. Joseph’s and explained the incident to the staff. Beth took Joel and attended the Awana awards to receive Ellice’s award. This may sound routine but I’m not a lover of hospitals, needles, doctors or anything associated with hospitals, needles or doctors. After I worked in a hospital for four years I avoided walking through the doors like there is a plague inside. It was a miracle I was able to attend the birth of all my children!

That evening Ellice and I were killing time waiting for an available doctor in the Emergency Room. A doctor finally came to us and smiled as we repeated the details of the accident. A few minutes of examination, one X-ray and it was a definite break. Not only was it a break but it would require a “closed reduction” to complete the break and set the arm correctly. It was too late in the evening for the surgery so a temporary cast was applied, the operation scheduled for the next morning and we returned home with the news.

Ellice was a sad little puppy that evening. Not only had she missed receiving her special award, “Sparky of the Year,” but now she had to go back to the hospital for surgery. Surgery was uncertain territory for Ellice. This was not the first broken bone but the first requiring surgery. I don’t believe she slept well that night.

The next morning Beth and I took Joel to stay with friends and headed to the hospital. Ellice was a trouper. It was apparent she was concerned but did well as they dressed her, gave her medication to sleep and started an IV.

The procedure was quick and short. Basically they completed the break then set and cast the arm. Fortunately this does not require opening of the arm. It sounds rather brutal but was necessary to insure a clean and straight healing process. A few hours later Ellice awoke and was groggy for a while then had some pain but recovered rather quickly.

As a second grader Ellice was not going to slow down just for some broken arm. She pressed on, had a great time as school let out for the summer and ignored that stiff arm as she played, jumped, ran and did all the things a little girl does to have fun.

I wonder why things happen when they do. They don’t always make sense and sometimes seem brutal. Ellice missed her award but gained strength in her ability to deal with accidents, and even hospitals. I’m not sure why God allowed this to happen but I do know it was for a reason. Sometimes we need to just wait and listen to discover the good from a bad situation.

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