Have you ever wished for a second chance at something? I am sure that I have wanted chances at many things throughout life, but I trust that the Lord granted me the chances (and second ones) that were best for me and that provided the opportunity to do what He desired for me to do.
Last year, I got my second chance at thanking my former pediatrician for the care he gave me. Dr. Hamburg had been my pediatrician ever since I was a little girl. He happened to be gone on vacation the week that I became incredibly ill. I lay in the hospital slowly dying while various doctors tried to figure out what was going on with me. My mom told me that as soon as Dr. Hamburg arrived back in town, he immediately came up to the hospital, read my chart, took one look at me, and then panicked. He quickly ordered a CT scan which revealed a mass in my abdomen. This in turn led to exploratory surgery to find what was believed to be a mass. The mass was actually my uterus which was extremely swollen and filled with massive infection. Dr. Hamburg also called in a new ob/gyn surgeon with wonderful credentials to perform the life-saving surgery.
I know, or at least, firmly believe that if he would have waited just a few days to return to the “office” after his vacation, I would have never made it. There were many hands that touched me during that time and all of them played a part in saving my life. However, I know Dr. Hamburg did not accept not knowing what was wrong. He hastily came to the hospital and did not stop until he found the reason why his otherwise very healthy patient lay withering away.
That is the back story of Dr. Hamburg. I also want to share what I believe is the Lord’s gifting of a second chance for me. Here it is….
My first chance at something I had wanted to do happened at a local grocery story about a year and a half ago. I looked up while pushing my cart around and saw my former pediatrician, Dr. Hamburg, shopping. I studied him closely. He is probably close to 80-years-old now and even though I knew it was him, I just wanted to be sure. While I was trying to get the nerve up to go talk to him, I lost sight and, like that, he was nowhere to be found. I hastily walked from aisle to aisle looking for him but could not find him. My chance at telling this doctor who had a huge part in saving my life was gone.
As I walked out of the store, I felt the Lord saying to me “Caroline! I gave you the perfect opportunity and you blew it!” Oh my…I am sure our Heavenly Father just wants to throw His hands up sometimes with frustration! I know this is something that He wanted me to do. I have felt so led in the past few years to reconnect with pivotal people in my life who were in the trenches with me and my family during and after my hysterectomy.
The rest of the night and several days…okay months…passed and I could not get Dr. Hamburg out of my mind. Last summer while heading into a store I looked up and there he was carrying a bag of groceries to his car. I walked past with my sunglasses on so that I could give him one last look just to make sure. As I was getting closer to the door of the grocery store, I realized this was the second chance I had been hoping for.
I immediately turned around and scurried as fast as I could to his car. Nervously, I walked up and said “Excuse me, are you Dr. Hamburg?” He said “yes”. I then said “I don’t know if you remember me but I’m Caroline and I was one of your patients.” He studied my face closely, but did not seem to be quite sure of whom I was. He then said “How are you?” I said “I’m doing really well.” He said “You have a sister right? How is she?” I said “Yes I do. She’s doing well.” He then introduced me to his granddaughter. Now at this point, I could tell it was about to get awkward as he just kept searching my face trying to recall who I was.
I took a deep breath and said to him “I don’t know if you remember this but I am the girl who had the hysterectomy when I was eleven.” In a split second, he turned and looked at his granddaughter and then looked back at me with an expression of “aha” mixed with excitement and concern at the same time. I said “Dr. Hamburg, I am so glad I ran into you because I want to thank you. I know that you played a very big part in saving my life. And, I just want to let you know how grateful I am for this. You saved my life.”
Of course, by this time, tears were streaming down my face. I looked at him and his eyes that were filled with wisdom from the years began to well up with tears that eventually made their way to his cheeks. He leaned forward and hugged me saying “thank you”. As I told him about being the mother of two wonderful children adopted out of foster care, he just stood there, staring, with tears rolling down. His granddaughter was smiling from ear to ear. We said our goodbyes and I turned around to enter the store. I felt like I was flying. My heart and mind were so excited, thankful, emotional, and in awe of what just occurred.
I am so incredibly thankful for the second chance God gave me to run into Dr. Hamburg again. I don’t even know if chance is the right word though. I have learned through the years that nothing really happens by chance after all. I believe that our Heavenly Father is and always will be the creator of opportunities, and the writer of those golden moments where we can shine for Him, show love, and express thankfulness for the works He set His children to do on this Earth.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.