They saved the best news for last.
As I was about to leave the emergency room cubicle where Frank lay with two broken legs, a serious hemmorhage and a cancer diagnosis, his wife Holly described the doctor who had been in to see them before I showed up at the local hospital.
“He didn’t look at all like I imagined him,” said Holly, describing a small, elderly gentleman — who just happened to be Frank’s oncologist. “Frank, we’re going to cure you,” Dr. Greenberg told the couple, according to Holly.
This was good news. No, this was fabulous news.
In the small country parish where I am the priest-in-charge, Frank is universally loved, a genuinely kind man with a matter-of-fact manner and a quick wit.
Quickly I worked out the implications in my mind.
“Breaking both of your legs was a bit of a blessing, wasn’t it?” I asked him. If Frank hadn’t fractured both femurs in a freak fall in a local tree-farm field, they might not have found the cancer until it had spread from one bone to many.
Both Frank and Holly heartily agreed.
I left feeling greatly pleased — and that the hospital room had been touched by the Holy Spirit.
But in the days that have followed, I have had time to reflect on that vignette, and to wonder.
Yes, it was a “blessing” that this wonderful man broke his femur — but, as much as I’d like it to be, was it a heaven-sent blessing?
I’ve never made absolute peace with the idea of a Providential God.
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