When I was 20 years old, I had to undergo a series of extensive and painful tests, which resulted in the discovery of a tumor on my brain. Although I wasn't actively or outwardly religious at that time, I did have faith in God, having had attended Sunday School and Church for most of my pre-teen years. When I was told that I had a tumor, I remained quite calm over it, mostly because I didn't comprehend - and hadn't been told - the extent of the dangers involved. My mother was very aware of the dangers though. The neuro-surgeon had told her that he wasn't certain he could remove the entire tumor, as it was so large and in a very sensitive area of my brain. For the time being, Mom kept that information to herself.
Mom had just recently begun attending a church in our area. As a young girl, she was raised by the Salvation Army, and had always been a very strong believer. On Sunday, the day before my surgery, Mom went to church early to pray. There was an adult Sunday School in progress when she arrived, so she attended it for the first time. To her shock, when she walked into the room, she saw a screen with an enlarged picture of a brain. The lesson of that day was on how the different areas of the brain function, and how it was believed by some, that a particular area is active only in Christians. Seeing the brain in full detail was more than Mom could bear, and she ran from the room, crying. When a woman from the class followed her, and asked why she was so upset, Mom told her of my impending operation. The woman comforted Mom and led her back into the classroom, where all the members then joined together in prayer.
The big day finally arrived. Operation Day. I had already been in the hospital for a week of tests and preparation. It was the eighth day of the eighth month, and eight hours of surgery was scheduled for 08:00. I got up extra early, not because of worry, but because I was concerned about how I looked for the surgery. (Funny, I thought I was so grown up back then...) It was just prior to the time of surgery, when a nurse said, "You're wearing makeup! And nailpolish! You can't wear that during an operation!" There was a last-minute scramble as the nurses rushed to find nailpolish remover and makeup remover. I was devastated to know that my medical team would see me without makeup! Fortunately, I suffered with that knowledge only briefly, as the gas mask covered my face, and I began to count backwards from one hundred. In my last few seconds of consciousness, I heard a loud buzz. Frantic, but unable to move, I silently screamed, "Stop! You can't saw my head open! I'm still awake!" Then I drifted off into nothingness. I realized later, that the sound I had heard was the buzz of an electric shaver. They had delayed the shaving of my head until I was anaesthetized, to ease the trauma of losing my long hair.
As the team of experts worked diligently on me, a visitor informed Mom that patients having my operation stood a 50/50 chance of coming out alive. Poor Mom. She waited and prayed. Meanwhile, the members of the surgical team were in for a startling surprise. As they explored my brain, they discovered that the tumor had disappeared! How could this be? All of the tests had shown, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a tumor existed; but where was it now? Only God knew.
While I was still recovering in the hospital, I told Mom about a tune that I couldn't get out of my head. It was a song I hadn't heard before, and it was beautiful. It played in my head when I slept, and it was playing in my head when I woke up from the surgery too. I hummed it for her. I can still picture Mom, glowing with delight as she smiled and said, "Honey, that's the song we sang in Church when we prayed for you."