Dr. David Henderson
August 24, 2010
David Henderson

I was sitting in the waiting room of a hospital cancer center near a lady [Tammy was her name] who had arrived for her final radiation treatment. Despite her emaciated appearance, immodest hospital gown and hastily donned cancer scarf, Tammy knew no shame…only excitment. After today, God-willing, the painful treatment process would be over and she could return to living a relatively normal life.

I watched her closely, trying not to be conspicuous, as she waved and chatted with other patients who obviously had been following the same daily routine. They shared a common bond, one that only comes through mutual hardship. Everyone rejoiced with Tammy, hoping quietly that their day would come as well.

Then Tom came out. Tom was the radiation tech who had been administering Tammy’s treatments. With a great show of enthusiasm, Tammy pulled out a little gift bag and presented it proudly to Tom.

“This is just a small thank you, Tom, for all that you have done for me over the last few weeks. You have been an Angel.”

Tom smiled, murmured a few awkward reassurances that the honor was all his, and hugged her ever so gently. Opening the bag, he pulled out a small ceramic puppy, the kind you find in every gas station convenience store all across America.

“Why, this is great!” He chuckled. “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to put this little guy next to my computer and I’m going to rub his head for good luck every time I play online poker. Thank you so much, Tammy!”

The exchange ended as a nurse came and wheeled Tammy out of the office.

I couldn’t help wondering how many of those trinkets Tom had scattered all over his office: meaningless curios by themselves, yes, but magically transformed into beautiful treasures because of the life-touching stories that went with each and every one.

In life, we trade trinkets every day: small gifts passed between friends, kind words spoken across a checkout counter, mundane tasks done with joy, a hug, a kiss, a quick prayer for someone in need. We exchange these pieces of our lives and around and around they go. Some would tempt us to believe that these exchanges are cheap and insignificant… but I would say they are wrong!

One day, when the time is right, God will gather up all those tiny trinkets we’ve passed between us and He will transform them into the treasures of heaven.

Question: What trinkets have you given or received today?