img_3990This is the post I think those of you who know Daniel will really enjoy. As we all know, Daniel has some limitations, but what Daniel has in abundance is personality and usually a good bit of joy. Daniel loves people and, after a few minutes, people usually love Daniel.

When we arrived on the EMU (epilepsy monitoring unit), they were ready for Daniel, with a room very near the nurses’ station that had a sweet, personalized name tag outside the door. Before we even got to our room Daniel was greeting people and asking questions. Some of the rooms had doors open and Daniel asked about the kids in those rooms. The room directly across from Daniel’s room had a little baby in it, and Daniel was concerned about that baby right away. From time to time that first afternoon, we heard the baby cry and at some point the baby’s parents left to get some dinner. The baby was with a volunteer and nurses were keeping a close eye on the baby, but Daniel kept asking when the baby’s parents would be back and after a while he couldn’t bear the baby crying any longer, so he prayed for the baby. He prayed that the baby would be comforted and that the baby would get to go home soon. He was thrilled the next morning when the baby was discharged to go home.

The nurse on duty when Daniel was admitted was Nurse Jen, and we were blessed to have her as Daniel’s nurse for four or five days of our stay. Daniel asked her lots of questions as she was settling us in our room and within minutes she was saying that she loved him already.  Soon, it was time for the electrodes to be placed on his head, and the EEG tech, Dennis, stopped by to meet Daniel. Daniel struck up a conversation with him and soon they were buddies. Dennis stopped by numerous times to say hi to Daniel and, of course, from time to time to freshen up the leads. Another EEG tech, a young guy named Chris, also was drawn in and became Daniel’s friend.   There was a third year resident who was our primary point of contact those first few days and Daniel established a really friendly rapport with him as well. He was there for a few of Daniel’s tearful moments, especially when Daniel was sad about David having to leave on Friday afternoon. This young doctor held Daniel’s hand and patted his head and was a real source of comfort for Daniel that day. He stopped in again later to check on Daniel before he went home, and he even came in on Saturday when he was at the hospital doing research to check in on Daniel. He ended his rotation on the EMU that Friday, but he even took the time to check in on Daniel on Monday, even though he was beginning another rotation in another department that day. These connections speak to the wonderful staff at Cleveland Clinic, but they also speak to Daniel’s personality and how people are drawn to his cheerful, sweet and funny self.

Most of you know that Daniel loves music, and I shared before about the music therapist and how thrilled Daniel was that she came to see him with her cart of really great instruments. She was no slouch – she really played those instruments and they were in tune and she could sing. On top of that, when she found out that Daniel liked worship music, Chris Tomlin in particular, she said, “I love Chris Tomlin!” At that point I knew Daniel would be well occupied for a half hour or so and I headed out to the lobby to do some work. When I came back they told me that I had just missed Daniel’s concert! He had called all the staff to his doorway and with the music therapist he sang two worship songs for them – Grace on Top of Grace and another one which I can’t recall. The day I met with Dr. Moosa at length and received disheartening news I had gone out in the waiting room and had a hard cry. When I came back to the room Daniel and the music therapist were just finishing up and Daniel asked me to sing one more song with them. “Mom, sing ‘Need You Now’ by Plumb!” Oh my. I couldn’t get through it without tears and had to explain to Daniel that I was crying because that was how I was feeling right then, but I knew God was using my boy in that moment to get me to acknowledge and even sing out the cry of my heart. Click the title to hear the song on YouTube.

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
How many times have you heard me cry out
God please take this?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid…
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take
How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now.
Such a great song, and such incredible timing for Daniel to ask for that song right then. He didn’t know I had been out in the lobby crying my heart out. But God knew.
img_3977I think I also shared either on FaceBook or in an earlier post that Daniel had organized an ice cream party on the unit. It was really something else! The day before, he had asked Nurse Jen and the personal care aide if they could have an ice cream party and they said that after lunch the next day they could have an ice cream party. So before the designated time Daniel asked Nurse Jen to go around to all the kids in their rooms and ask them 

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if they wanted ice cream during the ice cream party. Now, this is such a fun and crazy idea because all of the kids are confined to their rooms because they are all hooked up to the EEG monitoring, so Jen went around and told the kids that Daniel was having an ice cream party and would they like ice cream. Between the staff and Daniel and me and some of the other kids, seventeen people had ice cream “together”! This was just the little ice cream cups that they have in hospitals, but it was fun and joyful and just classic Daniel.
On our last couple of days, Daniel started to make some crafts, cutting and tearing paper and glueing it together. Then, he wrote on his creations and gave one to Dennis and one to Chris and two to Nurse Jen. Then he started making more of these and wrote on them “Daniel loves kids” and asked Jen to take them around to the kids in the other rooms. Honestly, I’m sure they’ve rarely had a boy like Daniel on the floor spreading love and joy, singing and shooting little playdough balls off a catapult from the door of his room.

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As Nurse Jen ended her shift the evening before we left, she came in to say good-bye to Daniel. Jen had been very open

img_4017 about how much she cared about Daniel, and that day that I had been crying in the waiting room, suddenly Jen had appeared with a box of tissues and not only let me cry on her shoulder, but cried right along with me. That last day when she came in to say good-bye, she was in tears again. She said, “I really needed him in my life right now. I’d been questioning things, and wondering if what I do makes any difference. He has changed me.” It was really beautiful and for all the hard parts of the trip I knew that in some ways Daniel was there on a mission and I was just along for the ride.

That’s how it is with Daniel. He is a little minister of joy and he touches people and loves people wherever we go. It is such an unbelievable privilege to be his mom.

6 thoughts on “Daniel on Mission

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this “recap” Ruth. Daniel is an amazing little guy that God has used mightily. Praying that God will heal and sustain Daniel to continue serving his God. Prayers for you and David as well.

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  2. Love this. We had all wanted that teip to be about help for Daniel and your family, but of course His plans are always far beyond our limited view. How wonderful that Daniel brought joy to so many while there. And may the Lord bring joy to all of YOU now as you are back at home still working through the implications and outcomes of the trip.

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    1. This is so neat, Ruth. Am glad you shared this with all of us. Daniel is a very special little guy and I know the Lord is using him to bless others. Love and pray for you all.

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  3. He is a ray of sunshine. Even on tough days, he was more concerned about others. I am so blessed to have worked with him.

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  4. What a precious story, Ruth. Thank you and may our Father continue to strengthen you all will his glorious power for all endurance and patience with joy, thanking him for Daniel’s place in the Kingdom.

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  5. Loved hearing about this aspect of your time at Cleveland Clinic and Daniel’s ministry to all! You summed it up well with ‘Daniel was there on a mission and I was just along for the ride’. Grateful for the glimpses of what God is up to….prayers continue!

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