TiVo loves me. And it’s discovered some of my favorite things, even without my help. It brings me little presents: a gingerbread house championship! Reruns of Designing Women! And the early years of Little House on the Prairie!
(I don’t like the older stuff, once Melissa Gilbert was a young teacher and they brought in Almanzo and his sister. I just prefer the episodes when Mary & Laura were girls, and their biggest problems were dealing with Nellie “Stick Up My Butt” Oleson.)
Today TiVo brought me the episode when the Doc tells Charles that scarlet fever has affected the nerves of Mary’s eyes, and it’s only a matter of time until she goes blind. At first Charles is in denial, and refuses to tell his oldest girl the diagnosis. Then Mary accidentally sets fire to the dining room floor, and he has to face up to it. He prays in the little schoolhouse/church and the reverend counsels him about how sometimes we pray and pray, and God answers in a way we don’t like or in a way we don’t understand.
Charles eventually tells Mary, and they cry together. For those of us who’ve read the books (or still liked the series once the girls grew up!), we know that things are going to work out for Mary. After all, there’s a beautiful man in her future who will love her very much. There’s a rewarding career at a school for the blind. She’s going to be okay, and more than that, she’s going to be happy and content.
But in that scene, watching Mary with her Pa, my heart just aches for the pain of every parent who has to tell their child that the doctor had bad news; that the cancer has come back; that the tests were positive; that the treatments didn’t work; that more surgery will be needed; that they can’t leave the hospital just yet.
When I was Christmas shopping, one store made a point to ask me to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I did donate, and I wish it could have been more. This is fortunately one of those areas in life where a lot of people do a little bit – and it adds up. Maybe it’s the mommy hormones, and maybe it’s the Christmas tenderness. These kids are on my heart tonight, so I want to take a minute to pray for all of those parents, and all of those kids. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll do the same.