The Last Days (part 1)
Mark set in the cold waiting room of the doctor's office waiting to get the results of the test he had the previous week. He had been sick along time and was worried what the results would be; even now he could feel the nausea coming on. He thought to himself how awful it is to be waiting for news that you dreaded to hear. He was nervous, thinking, "Surely, this news cannot be that bad, I am only twenty-three years old."
It was about fifteen minutes when the nurse opened the door to call him back, "Mr. McFadden, the doctor will see you now."
The nurse did not lead him back to a room, but she took him straight to the door. Mark looked up to read the plaque on the door-Dr. Hollister. He entered through the door to see Dr. Hollister sitting behind his desk with a stack of papers.
He was an elder man in his sixties; he could have retired long ago but refused, insisting on helping others.
"Thanks nurse, you can leave now." Dr. Hollister directed. He pointed toward the red velvet covered chair in front of his desk. "Have a seat Mark."
Mark felt his stomach go into knots as he placed himself in the chair. He wasn't one to show a lot of emotion, so he started the conversation.
"Give it to me, Doc. How bad is it?"
"Well, Mark, how long you had these symptoms?"
"I have been sick for awhile, the first time I noticed it was probably a year ago."
The doctor had a look of mixed emotions; disappointment and sadness. "I wish you would have come sooner, Mark."
"I wanted to but I thought it would pass, I did not want to make something of nothing." Mark replied.
The doctor stood up and paced over to the window overlooking the parking lot, the noon day sun was filtering its way through the blinds. He had been the medical doctor for the McFadden family for three generations.
"Go ahead, Doc, I can take it." Mark instructed.
"Mark, I'll give it to you straight," He turned from the window to face Mark. "You have stage 4 colon cancer. If you had come sooner we could have treated it."
Mark felt sweat bead upon his forehead and his palms began to sweat. He started to feel sick and Dr. Hollister noticed and grabbed the waste basket and Mark began to vomit until nothing was coming up and he was heaving only.
The doctor handed Mark a moist towel and Mark wiped his mouth. The Doctor stood looking at a pale young man; the once muscular frame had now diminished to nearly a skeleton. He looked well beyond his years, his thick dark hair was all that remained to show his youth.
Mark turned his attention toward the doctor, "What do you mean could have treated it?"
The doctor braced himself for the news he had to deliver with great apprehension. "Son, it's not good. The cancer is too far advanced for the treatments that medical science has to offer to be of any use to you. The cancer is beginning to move into you liver. It would just be a waste of money."
Mark looked sorrowful and without hope, "So, what does this mean?"
"It means at best you have six month to a year live, Mark." Dr. Hollister said with compassion.
Mark buried his head into his hands and began to weep uncontrollably. Dr. Hollister came over and placed his hand on his shoulder in hopes to comfort him the best he could.
After some time Mark got a grip on his emotions and took a Kleenex from the desk to dry his eyes. "You know, all the money my family has and at a time like this it doesn't help one bit." Mark said in anger.
Dr. Morris sits back at his desk and looked very concerned at Mark that exceeded just medically.
"Mark, can I ask you a serious question?" He inquired of Mark.
"I don't see why not"
"Do you believe in God?" Dr. Hollister asked.
The question caught Mark completely off guard. "Well, yes I believe in God, I guess. My family and I go to the Church of Tomorrow every Easter."
The Doctor knew what kind of relationship he had, but he asked anyway. "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?"
"I'm not a fanatic, if that's what you mean?" Mark said.
The doctor reached in his desk and pulled out a card and handed it to him. "Here Mark, give this some thought."
Mark took the card and read it:
Upper Room Ministries
2451 Sycamore Drive
Albany, N.Y. 12204
Come see us, if you don't see miracles, don't come back.
Mark looked at the doctor confused. "Tell me you don't believe this quack. I've seen him on television praying for people. My dad says all those people are paid."
The doctor lowered his eyes, knowing Mark's father was a successful business man, but he could not help but pity him. In all his money, he had great ignorance.
"Mark, do you see me as a man who is sensible?"
Mark thought the question was strange, "Of course, I would not be here if I didn't." Mark said stating the obvious.
"There are fakes out there, I agree with you on that, but for every counterfeit that means there must be something that they are faking. I have been going there for over five years, now and I cannot begin to write down all the miracles I have seen. I have sit right down at the front and watched as God moves for the people and carefully watched their expressions. I know a real miracle when I see one."
Mark looked doubtful, "I don't know about all that."
The doctor pulled a small slip of paper from his desk and handed it to Mark. "Here are some scriptures for you to study. If I were you I would go home and consider it tonight." He looked with all seriousness at Mark, "Look at it like this. What do you have to lose?"
Mark thanked the doctor and went home, but the doctor's last question kept pounding in his head all the way home.
The atmosphere at Nick's Bar was as loud as ever on Friday night. The smoke filled the bar and the people were shouting for the opening act as loud as usual.
Tabitha Wilkins, an African-American woman, was backstage with her friend since early grade school days; Lilly Hardin. She was waiting for her to go onstage and perform. She believed her friend was well on her way to a Country Western music career.
"You ready, Lilly?" Tabitha asked.
"Yes, as ready as I am going to be." Lilly was about to perform, but she looked downcast and Tabitha knew why.
"Would you get her off your mind?"
"I can't", Lilly responded, "this is the third time I have played and invited her every time." She looked at Tabitha with a pleading look. "Could you go check for me?"
Tabitha sighed, "Alright, you stay here and get focused."
"Oh, thank you, Tabs. You are my truest friend." She said.
Tabitha went back to where the curtain opened up to the stage to sneak a peak. Sure enough there set the reserved seat empty as it had been the last three nights. Lilly had invited her grandmother now three times and all three times she had been a no show. Her grandmother had once been a singer and now she was a church going woman and had renounced the world, saying Jesus would not want her there. Tabitha thought she was a little fanatical, but never expressed her true feelings to Lilly.
Tabitha came back and delivered the sad news to her friend, who deep down knew what the answer would be already. Tabitha had not ever been raised in church, her family was atheists. They thought of Christianity as a crutch that people used to lean on when times got tough.
Lilly wanted her grandmother there, yet she was too afraid to talk against her grandmother for her decisions. Her grandmother had brought her up in the fear of the Lord and she did not dare speak against a true believer.
The music stopped and the applause came up though the place. Nick appeared, "Lilly, it is time. Show them what you can do." He said with a smile.
She stood there as Nick announced her. "Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the one we all came for tonight. The future of Country Music right here in New York, Lilly Hardin!"
Lilly took her first step onto the stage and brushed her long blonde hair behind her ears. As she did her grandmother's voice echoed in her head through the verse she gave when Lilly told her she was pursuing a music career, for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).