It was a frigid fall Thursday afternoon. His name was Nicolas. His diagnosis made sense by the section of the hospital he was in, as well as the sight of his bald head and frail body.
Volunteering over at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, I worked on the 8th floor consisting of children with short term illnesses and cancer patients. I looked into a room where a little boy sat in his bed, all alone. I knew this was the reason I was here.
Holding a conversation with Nicolas was hard, until he quietly handed me a remote controller to the Xbox360. Nicolas began to smile at my inadequacy. His little giggle echoed across the silent room and into my heart. A thought popped in my head. I told Nicolas I would be right back. I slipped into the nurse’s station to see if I could possibly take Nicolas down to the big playroom to play videogames on the big screen. The nurse explained it would be dangerous for him to expose other children to what he may have, but the look on my face prompted the nurse to reconsider. Smiling she said could shut down the playroom just for us and sanitize it afterwards. I surprised Nicolas with the exciting news. His face glowed with a smile, lighting up the room.
The nurse came in removing the tubes and IV’s attached to Nicolas. Giving us the ‘ok’ to go down to the playroom, the nurse handed me the wheelchair, gave a wink, and shut the door. Nicolas slowly sat up. With every weak muscle, he progressively forced himself into the wheelchair. Pulling back the wheelchair slowly, Nicolas’ faint little voice told me to “wait”. A painful look shot across Nicolas’ face. Crouching over he crawled back into bed pulling the covers over his face. Not one word was said. I knew the pain was too much for Nicolas’ body enabling him physically to make it to the playroom, no matter how much he wanted to go. My hands firmly gripped on the wheelchair, my body froze in disbelief. Tears welled up in my eyes and a lump developed in my throat choking back my own emotions. The nurse came in asking me to leave. His tiny body so frail, and with his spirit damaged, I never got to say goodbye to my new found friend. I never found out if Nicolas made it through his treatments and is still alive.
Today is a warm rainy spring day. As I look back at that fall day, I never believed in God’s grace, nor did I ever fully understood the true meaning of it. Grace is defined as unmerited favor, something I haven’t earned or, deserve because of who I am. I firmly believe that God has given me grace throughout my life. It was the moment I met Nicolas that made my questioning crystal clear, and helped me realize my belief in how sufficient God’s grace truly is.