Mary is a Little Lamb
by Jeff Osborne
Her smile is always unmistakable. She is a joy to be around. I would walk up and down the executive floor at Honeywell and not a day would go by that I would miss the chance to make it by Mary's desk to exchange pleasantries. It usually went something like this, "Hello Ms. Mary, how is your world?" "Wonderful, how about you?" she would say with a bright smile. I would often use Mary to practice the 5 or 6 words I still remember from High School Spanish class and she would politely correct my broken accent or mumbled annunciation. Mary's desk proudly displays her life treasures - pictures of her family and friends. Husband, children, grandchildren and co-workers from various project teams. During even the most difficult of days I knew Mary would always be good for a ray or two of sunshine. I often traveled to the other end of the hallway to get a glimpse of happiness and of course to see if I could reduce her inventory of jellybeans she kept in the jar behind her desk. At Christmas time and during Administrative Assistant Week, I enjoyed dropping off a candle and a card to Mary and the other assistants in the area to let them know they were appreciated. Even though Mary did not have to provide much direct support of me, her smile and encouragement were always therapeutic and helped more than she will ever know.
It was time for me to move on to another position that required me to move to another building on campus. Shortly thereafter, Mary also made a move to a different Honeywell location across town. When I heard that her sister died of cancer several months ago, my heart went out to her and I sent her a card with a note of encouragement.
It was just over a week since we had brought Hailey home from the Children's Hospital. Pam took the overnight shift at the hospital and I came home to be with the kids for a night. I was rummaging through the mail, reading the wonderful cards people had sent to us. I came across an extra large envelope. The return address had Mary's name on it. My eyes grew watery as I began to open the card. It was a beautiful card with a picture of a lion and a lamb lying next to one another. This picture symbolized Jesus as our redeemer with both the power and majesty of a great lion and the gentleness and purity of a spotless lamb. The card was large, nearly 8"x10", so Pam and I propped it up on the shelf above Hailey's bed in the hospital room for visitors to view. It was a great reminder each day that nothing taking place during this battle happens without first going through the hands of the Great Shepherd.
Once home from the hospital, we began driving to the clinics each day for chemo and radiation treatments. I was pushing Hailey in her wheelchair towards the elevator as we had finished treatments for the day. Suddenly I heard Mary's voice call my name. I turned and there she stood in the waiting room of the radiation center. Her eyes lit as she walked up to Hailey to greet her. "Hello, you must be Hailey, we have been praying for you everyday little one." We talked a couple moments about Hailey and then it hit me. I asked, "What are you doing here anyway?" She said without hesitation, "My husband is here for treatments, he has brain cancer." I was familiar with the pain that filled her face. She immediately followed up with the statement, "But we always have HOPE." Mary introduced us to her husband as we were saying our good-byes and I went back to pushing Hailey's wheelchair down the long aisle towards the elevator.
This hallway exchange with Mary was very different than our many carefree greetings we had experienced over the past several years, but there were some aspects that were exactly the same. Mary's face, although deep with pain, was still a ray of sunshine to me. Her voice was still peaceful and calm. Her focus was still on the positive aspects of the situation. And of course, she was still more worried about encouraging others than about the weight of her own burdens.
Thank you Mary for being a light to me and to all those you come in contact with. You truly are one of God's little lambs. May God bless and comfort YOU and your family as you walk through this chapter of your life.