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The Smell of Rain

"A cold March wind danced around the dead of night
in Dallas as the doctor walked in the small hospital
room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery,
her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves
for the last news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced
Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency
caesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing.
At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces,
they already knew she was periously 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; she would certainly be prone to
other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete
mental retardation and in and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with the
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 drugged sleep, growing more and more
determined that ther 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, 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 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.

Becuase Danae's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw',
the lightest kiss or carress 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 ultra-violet 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 stronger.
But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain and ounce of weight
here and an ounce of strength of 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 hopsital, just as her mother had predicted.
Today, five years alter, Danae is a petite but fiesty young girl with
glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows
no signs whatsoever, of any mental or physcial 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 siting in her mother's lap in the bleacher
of the local ball park 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 shoulds with the 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 daughters 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 senstive
for them to thouch her, God was holding Danae on His chest- and
it is His loving scent she remembers so well.

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