Saturday morning, at Barnes and Noble, I was in the café line to order my venti Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. Just ahead of me was a young family. Dad pushed a stroller with a sleeping 8 month old boy, dressed in Carolina blue inside. Mom paid gentle attention to a four year old girl with reddish hair, a few freckles, blue eyes, and a bright smile.

The girl had stickers in her hand and one on her tan and pink stripped shirt. “I got them for being brave at the doctor this morning.  That’s why I get a cookie, too.” 

She twirled in a tight orbit beside the stroller and in front of me,

I asked her how she had been brave: “Did you have a vaccination?” 

Her mom said, “A flu shot.”  “

And I didn’t cry,” said the girl.

“What helped you to be so brave?” I asked. 

“I closed my eyes and thought about God.”

I told her that I go to the doctor a lot, that I try to be brave, too, and that the way she did it would help me.  “Thank you, Kara. You’re very wise.”

She giggled, introduced herself to me, and asked me about my name and birthday. By then, it was time for them to order her cookie and her parents’ coffees.

Her mother thanked me for talking to Kara. I told her it was a delight and a gift to me.

As they walked to a table and I waited for my tea, I whispered a prayer that Kara not lose her spontaneity, self-confidence, and joy. Too many of us do.

I was at the Cancer Center yesterday. I took Kara’s wisdom with me: I closed my eyes and thought about God.

Now, if I could just let myself twirl and wear stickers. . . .