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Sweet Potato

By Jean Southworth

November,  2002

Since I learned of my cyst a week ago, I've woken a couple times in the middle of the night and thought the worst. Stuff about my kids, mostly. You can guess. I must be doing a little better these past couple days, as I'm moving onto other worries, like cooking.

Late Wednesday evening, I lay awake, fretting about food. "I won't be able to make my 7-up Salad and famous sweet potato casserole if I have my laparoscopy the week of Thanksgiving!"

Then it hit me, like getting smacked upside the head by a (plastic) baseball bat.

"Haven't you seen my hand at work in the big issues related to your cyst?

"Yes, Lord," I answered.

"Then why don't you think my hand is already at work in the little issues?"

"Oh yeah, sorry, Lord. Of course. Excellent point."

Never before had God spoken to me with such clarity. I stopped worrying. Immediately, I fell fast asleep.


December 23, 2002

On Thanksgiving Day, my cousin, Jeanne, made the sweet potato recipe for me.

On December 19, I had major surgery, lots more than we'd thought. Thankfully, they found no cancer. It was the greatest Christmas gift I've ever received.

I'm home now and recovering as well as can be expected. My doctors say "no weight lifting for 3 months and no housework for 3 years." (The last part was a joke, but I liked it enough to pass it on. Perhaps my family will believe it.) I will be largely out of commission for about six weeks, but writing is something I still can do. Eating and sleeping are a couple others. More skills should return in coming weeks.

I am ever grateful for good health, caring friends and family, and a God who never budged from my side...

A God who repeatedly manifested in human form. More Christ in skin.

I remember regaining consciousness post-operatively following surgery. While I couldn't open my eyes or speak above a whisper, my hearing was precise. I recognized voices.

Two nurse friends quietly told me their names, but I already knew. They said, "We're taking care of you, Jean. You are among friends." What a tender God we have. Someday soon I'll tell these women just who they really were that afternoon.

The teenagers are still here. Actually, they've never left. They were here the night before surgery, while I was hospitalized (in droves, apparently) and when I got home. They even accompanied Zach to the hospital to visit me.

Our friend suggested, "You should clear these kids out, at least until after the holidays!"

But you know, that hospital was a pretty sad place--gloomy, quiet, dispirited. The teenagers are noisy, upbeat and joyful: they are LIFE. I think I'll keep them around. As long as I don't have to clean up after them.