I had three heart surgeries, the first of which occurred at age 11. Even though I was not a Christian at the time, I know now that God was able to transform my pain and fear into joy. He gave me a second chance in life and I did not take that important realization for granted. I began volunteering at the UCI Medical Center helping children feel some type of joy in the midst of their pain. I remember one young boy who quickly attached himself to me. He had an infectious smile and we were laughing and playing within five minutes of meeting one another.
That day, the advisory nurse pulled me aside and told me that she just received a phone call that the young boy’s father died one floor above us. The nurse told me not to say anything to the boy, but to be prepared.
How could I look at those innocent, yet fearful eyes and not show sadness? God knew that I would not last long without crying and the boy was told moments later. Prior to the phone call, we were both boasting about our martial arts skills and how tough we were. I could tell that he wanted to cry, but he didn’t want to appear weak, especially after proving to me that he was a “tough man.”
I broke the momentary silence by telling him that it takes a real man to cry and that if he wanted to cry, it was not a bad thing. It meant that he missed his dad and that his dad would appreciate knowing that his son missed him.
Immediately, he buried his head in my side and sobbed. It was beautiful moment of comforting one another.