This is the story of an ordinary day when an extraordinary God showed up and gave me a gift beyond my wildest dreams: He gave me His love and our Christmas house. Never in a million years did I imagine how my life was about to change.

It all began with a phone call. I was about to be given the results of my mammogram.  “We’re sorry,” the voice on the end of the phone compassionately recited, “Both your breasts have significantly changed since your last visit.  We’d like you to come in for an ultrasound tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.”

The worry began to accelerate as the minutes between today and tomorrow passed by.

I imagined the worst possible outcome. By nightfall, I was planning my funeral, and sleep seemed like the only option that might relieve my insanity. Just as I approached my bed, I stubbed my toe on my grandpa’s porch furniture-crowded tightly against my bedroom wall. I was filled with anxiety and drama as I thought to myself: “That’s funny God.  I never did get a porch to put it on in this life.  Never mind, maybe there’s a front porch in heaven.”

“I hope you leave the light on for me.”

“Goodnight God…see you soon.”

The next day I went in for an ultrasound. The moments passed by in slow increments, until eventually the outcome was determined.

“You’re free to go!” they said.

“Just loaded with harmless cysts.”

After so many minutes of dread, it’s no wonder that my relief found me immediately on the phone the next minute to share my good fortune with a friend!

“Guess what?”  I exclaimed! “I’m not dying today!”

And then rambling on as I usually do, I added:

“I can’t believe I even thought about my grandpa’s porch furniture!”

With great disgust and horror in her voice, my friend reprimanded me on the spot.  She told me to grow up, and more importantly, “to be thankful!”   That seemed like a fair enough trade off…my life would be totally complete without a porch to put it on…for at least I had my health. So, I decided I would indeed need let go of that dream immediately.

Dreams are over-rated.  So much of what we desire is unimportant anyway.  But this dream- prior today, was very important to me.  I had stared for hours looking at romantic home magazine issues for years, dreaming of my very own “old house.”  Since I was a little girl, I longed for a house just like my grandpa (the man who I’d loved more than anyone else in the world.)  My favorite magazines featured old homes with nooks and crannies decorated for the holidays with glorious Christmas trees color coordinated and artfully displayed in many rooms. I had remembered how my grandma had several trees throughout her home and it seemed to me that it was the most magical place in the world to be. And that became my secret wish also…to have a house just like theirs where I could put a tree in every room.  Whether it made sense or not…every time I drove past an old home with a porch where I could put my grandpa’s porch furniture and perhaps a Christmas tree in it with all the twinkling lights my chest stung. This ache became so familiar that it became a part of my very being. Letting it go would be next to impossible for me.

Here was the problem.  I could go and try to promise God I’d be thankful to live in my split- level home without a single nook and cranny and no front porch forever.  I could burn every copy of my Victorian home magazines and vow to never look at them again…and yet…Could I promise God my heart wouldn’t sting when I drove past an old home with a porch on it? Could I give up my dream of having a Christmas tree in every room? Could I truly change my hearts desires and replace them all with gratitude?  I was thankful to be cancer free…but what would I do with my desire? Did you ever have a dream that never died?

To be continued…