I live in a city where it rains a lot. The other morning I was walking to go and meet some good friends like I often do on a Saturday morning, and it was raining. There was something very special about that morning though. As I enjoyed a light airy mist of drizzle upon my face, and a fresh scent in the air something came upon my heart lightly and said to me, “this is what heaven smells like”.
At first I thought nothing of it and then I remembered a story someone from my past told to me. It was about young girl who was born at 24 weeks and only being 12 inches and 1 pound in weight was given only a few hours at best to live.. Her story is miraculous, and has touched me so very deeply. Here it is.
The Smell of Rain
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10,1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to Danae Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. I don’t think she’s going to make it, he said, as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10 percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.” Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. “No! No!” was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.
Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live, and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers, ‘I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen. I said, “No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!”
As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s under-developed nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger.
But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later-though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, what so ever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more-but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?” Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain. Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.” Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children.
Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well. You now have 1 of 2 choices…you can either pass this on and let other people catch the chills like you did, or you can delete this and act like it didn’t touch your heart like it did mine.
IT’S YOUR CALL!
I continued on in my walk I realized I had just been touched by something very special. Something had spoken to me in the misty scent that morning. It’s difficult to explain in words how I felt that morning, but I’ll try. I felt as though a beautiful warm oil covered my body and washed over me from head to toe, and then filled my body. It was as if the scent of the rain had words that were feelings. I have never felt more safe and at peace in my life. Like we matter here on earth more than we can see with our human eyes alone. I truly have a blessed life today however it hasn’t always been that way. I don’t know why, but that morning I was wondering what it’s all about, and if we really matter here on earth anyway. What is our fate to be, and how can I make a difference in this world…really? It was the thought of this story that helped me that morning. It truly is beautiful.
I can only say that the feeling, and it was so much more than a feeling, washed over me as I was in the moment and gently breathed pure love over, in, and through me…and I knew. The scented air and light mist caressed my face, and held my cheeks as a loving child and said “I have always loved you. Take this love and share it every day”.
This is what really matters. Never forget that whether you know it or not you are loved beyond compare. Even if you don’t believe it, it is none the less a reality.
…Pay It Forward