The smell of rain…

A cold March wind blew through Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery.

That afternoon complications of pregnancy had forced Diana to agree to an emergency Cesarean section birth. Her pregnancy was going to end at only 24 weeks. As the doctor entered the room both Diana and her husband, David, each reached for the other’s hands as they braced themselves for what they were sure would be bad news. At birth their longed-for little girl was little indeed, only 12 inches long and weighing just a pound and nine ounces. Still, the doctor’s softly-spoken words exploded in their minds like bombs.


“I don’t think she’s going to make it,” he began. “There is only a ten percent chance she will live through the night. Even if she does manage to stay alive, her future could be a very cruel one.”

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana tried to stay focused as the doctor described the problems little Dana would face if she managed to survive. She would never walk. She wouldn’t talk. She would probably be blind, and she almost certainly would be prone to a long list of catastrophic conditions such as cerebral palsy, complete mental retardation, and many others.

norm-al-130202-2All Diana could do was murmur repeatedly, “NO…NO…NO!”

She and David had a 5-year-old son, named Dustin, but they had long dreamed of the day when a little girl would make their family a foursome.

Now with the doctor giving them nothing but devastating news about little Dana, that dream seemed to be rapidly slipping away.

A new agony soon set in, however. Dana’s underdeveloped nervous system seemed almost “raw,” so that the slightest touch from Diana or David produced great discomfort in their tiny baby. There seemed to be nothing they could do to let her know they were there, nothing that could somehow communicate the strength of their love to the little one who needed so much strength to survive.


All they could do, as Dana struggled alone under the warm lights of the preemie bed and amid the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would bring their precious little girl through this ordeal. More than anything, since they could not get close to their new little daughter by touch, they asked that God would stay close to her and give her the strength she would need to grow and thrive and ultimately join their family.


There was never a moment when Dana suddenly thrived and became stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did gain an ounce of weight here, and an ounce of strength there.

At long last, when she turned two months, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months past this milestone, even though the doctors continued to give Diana and David the worst possible outlook, little Dana finally made the trip from the hospital to home.


Five years later, Dana was petite, but a rambunctious and feisty little girl with an unquenchable zest for life! She showed no signs whatsoever of either physical or mental impairment. She was everything a little girl could be, and more, and her glittering gray-blue eyes appeared to dance all day long as she missed nothing and learned all about what it means to live life and be loved.


However, this happy ending is not the end of the story about Dana Blessing.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of Dana’s sixth year, she and her mom were sitting in the bleachers watching Dustin play baseball with his local team. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop and talking with her mom and the other adults sitting nearby. Suddenly, she stopped talking and brought her arms across her chest as if hugging herself. “Do you smell that?” she asked.

Sniffing the air and detecting the smell of an approaching thunderstorm, Diana said “Yes…it smells like we have a rainstorm coming.”

Dana closed her eyes and asked again, “Do you smell that?”

Once again her mother replied, “Yes, we might get a little wet. It smells like rain.”

Concentrating hard, Dana put her hands on her hips and said, “No, it smells like God when you put your head on His chest.”

norm-al-130202-9Tears quickly welled up in Diana’s eyes as her little daughter turned to play with two other young girls. Dana’s words immediately confirmed something she, and all the other members of the Blessing family, had somehow felt in their hearts ever since Dana had come home from the hospital after that difficult period following her birth. During those long days and nights when they could not even touch their precious baby, God held Dana close to His chest, and it was His special scent that Dana remembered so well.


[Contributed by a NewNormal reader]

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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