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Advent Devotional December 12: Written by Roberta Torn in 1988

It was a week before Christmas in 1979, and I was visiting my friends at M.D. Anderson Hospital. The decorations were all up, and a high school choir was singing carols in the hallway. Even old Santa Claus was ringing his little bell as he went into each room, where a Polaroid picture would be taken of the patient with Santa. It was a “fun” time for even terminally ill cancer patients. 

As I walked into 1124, I could see that my friend Anita was packing to go home. I had been visiting this wonderful Christian girl for several months and she had become a special friend. She was about thirty years old and was the single parent of a nine year old girl. All of her family was back in Georgia, and Anita had gone through all the horrible chemotherapy treatments alone. It was evident that she would not be back after Christmas because she had made the decision to quit treatment. She wanted to spend the little time left with her little girl. She had prayed about it and felt she was making the right decision, and I reluctantly agreed with her. 

It is always hard to say “goodbye” to a friend for the last time, but as I was ready to leave, I said “Anita, no one really knows when the Lord is going to take us home. With the Houston freeways like they are, I might get killed on my way home and beat you to heaven!” 

She just chuckled, gave me a big hug, and said, “If you do, save me a chair right by you!” 

As I left her room, the choir was singing “Joy to the World” but I leaned against the wall and cried. 

One day I’ll get to sit by Anita in the chair she’s saving for me. Maybe it will be like musical chairs, and I’ll get to sit by all of my friends that I have known at M.D. Anderson. Anyways, when I get there, I want to “put on my wings,” and Anita and I will sing and shout all over God’s Heaven! 


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