I have never been one that liked actually being in the snow. Watching it fall—making a pristine covering that takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary is more to my taste. I know this can be rough on my son who would really like a mom who will roll around in the snow until her toes freeze off. The dampness that settles into my joints and bones can leave me in such pain that I would spend the entire night in tears due to the pain.
I was born with a dislocated hip, which was not diagnosed until I was two years old and had troubles walking. Our landlord Mr. Ricker "just happened" to be a Shriner and he was the one who recognized what the doctors had failed to see. The interesting thing is J.D. Ricker was not in the medical field, he owned a plumbing and heating company!
Mr. Ricker took us to another Shriner who got us an appointment at the Greenville, South Carolina, location. At the time we lived in Greeneville, Tennessee, so this was quite a trek. The doctors there agreed with the diagnoses and I was admitted into Shriners Hospital.
For those of you that only know the Shriners as the men in the funny hats and little cars in parades, they mean so much more to me and the more than 835,000 children they have helped free of charge since 1922 (I was not their first patient contrary to popular opinion.)
For two years I spent time in surgery, body casts, and leg braces. I have few memories of this time, however, I do have vivid memories of traveling up to the Philadelphia Shriners hospital when I was older for check-ups and a two-week hospital stay due to the likelihood of more surgery. They often had movies, and clowns that came in to entertain us.
I remember this not as a place of fear but as a place of caring people. I have to admit several nighttime raids with a couple of nurses into the kitchen to take goodies back into the ward. I'm sure looking back they had the full permission of the kitchen, but it was quite an adventure for a fourth grader.
As Christians, of course, these "just so happens" really don't just happen. We are held in God's tender loving care and He brings people into our lives who we need or who need us. Shriners has now expanded into 22 hospitals and burn centers. If you know a child that may need medical attention in the area of orthopaedic conditions, burn injuries, spinal cord rehabilitation or cleft lip and palate repair, I would recommend that they go to www.shriners.com. You could also go to their site to make a donation.
Looking at me you would never know that I had such huge issues or that doctors didn't hold out much hope that I would walk normally. As Ephesians 3:20 says "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."