Bryson City Seasons — Answered Prayers (Part 3)

This is from the fourth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week, and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


“Doc,” I began, “we’d love to tell you our story about Kate. I’m sure it won’t answer all your questions, ’cause the truth is, we still have lots of questions ourselves. But the question you’re asking is one we’ve lived with and learned from through our experienceence with Kate. Do you have the time now to talk a bit?”

“I’ll make the time,” Doc John answered. “I have a feeling God sent the three of you in here just for me today.”

Just then Becky brought the tray with our lunches. After she doled out the food and made sure we didn’t need anything else, she asked, “Y’all mind if I pull up a chair? Things have calmed down a bit. And I want to be sure this pharmacist isn’t telling any tales out of school!”

John laughed. “No, dear. No tall tales today. I’m just askin’ these good folks ’bout a serious topic.”

Becky looked askance at her husband. “You’re being serious?”

John smiled. “For once I am. I guess I’m just tore up ’bout that little girl over in Waynesville, and Walt here was gettin’ ready to tell me ’bout Kate.”

Becky nodded. “Now that’s a story I’d like to hear, if it’s okay.”

I nodded. “After Kate was born, her development seemed delayed—she wasn’t doing some of the things babies her age normally do. Kate’s physician and I weren’t concerned. But Barb strongly sensed something wasn’t right. Kate’s lack of development finally became obvious to me and her doctor, and so we had her evaluated at the age of six months. They made the dreaded diagnosis: Kate had cerebral palsy.”

“What causes cerebral palsy?” Ken asked.

“For some reason, blood to part of the baby’s brain is blocked before the baby is born. The loss of oxygen and nutrients causes a part of the brain to die. It’s almost never recognized at birth, but usually at four to six months of age it starts to show some effects. Once it’s diagnosed, it’s pretty much a shock for the parents, who thought their child was normal.”

“So what did they tell you?” Becky inquired.

“Kate had a CT scan, and the pediatric neurologist said it showed virtually no right brain and a severely shrunken left brain—leaving her with about a third of a brain. As alarming as that news was, he then told us, ‘She’ll never walk or talk. She’ll grow bigger, but she’ll never get better.’ He told us we could put her in an institution, or we could just take her home and love her.”

“It must have been devastating to both of you,” Becky remarked.

“It really was,” Barb noted. “And it was a real strain on our marriage. It nearly tore us apart as a couple.”

Ken chimed in. “That’s no surprise, Barb. I’ve read that about 70 percent of married couples who have a child with severe disabilities end up getting divorced.”

Barb nodded. “I had heard the same thing, Ken. So I determined two things: Walt and I were going to make it, and I was going to do everything in my per to give Kate a fighting chance.”

“So what did you do, Barb?” asked Doc John.

“Well, I read all I could about the diagnosis and talked to other parents who had raised children with cerebral palsy. And I was attracted by the then-novel theories that children’s brains could be shaped by plenty of physical therapy. So my prescription

for Kate was lots of therapy and a large dose of reading and singing, combined with a healthy measure of daily prayer and unconditional love.”

I picked up the story. “While Barb went to work on Kate’s development and therapy, I’ve got to admit I chose a darker, more dismal road. I wallowed in anger and self-pity. I could imagine having to care for Kate not only as a disabled child but as a profoundly disabled adult. For Barb that thought generated great love and empathy, but for me it generated great anger. All my hopes for her—of becoming an athlete or thespian; of dating and loving; of finding her soul mate for life and of having me, her daddy, walk her down the aisle to him; of enjoying my grandchildren—were pounded and pummeled by her prognosis. So I chose to bury myself in the world of medicine.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Doc John.

“Let me tell you, John,” added Ken, “Walt’s response isn’t unusual. In fact, many parents get really mad at God when they have to walk this path. Did you feel that way, Walt?”

Embarrassing as this was to share, I continued. “My anger at Barb—and at God—for ‘doing this terrible thing’ to me was intensified by a discussion with a pastor one afternoon.”

“A pastor?” asked Ken.

“Having heard about Kate and the difficulties in our marriage, he came over to our house one evening. After a few formalities, he launched into the purpose of his visit.”

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Barb commented. “He began with, ‘Walt and Barb, I’ve come to help you.’ Walt and I looked at each other expectantly. I mean, we felt we would have cheerfully accepted any help—especially since parents who have been told there is no hope will desperately seek any morsel of help.”

“That’s true,” added Ken. “So what’d he tell you?”

“Ken, what he said next stunned us. He said something like, ‘I can tell you, based upon the authority of God’s Word—the Bible—that God did not design Kate to be like this, that God does not want Kate to be like this. He wants her healed—and isn’t that what you want?”

John looked at Ken. “Is that true, Pastor?”

“Some think so,” answered Ken.

“Well,” I added, “Barb and I sure wanted to believe it. In fact, we both nodded our heads affirmatively to his question. After all, who wouldn’t want their child healed?”

“Well, I’ll tell ya this,” said Doc John. “The fella whose grand- daughter has Down’s sure would want her healed.”

Becky nodded and looked at Barb. “So then what’d he say?”

“Well, he kinda shocked us. He told us there were people who would say that Kate is just an accident. Then he said, ‘But we know that’s not true. The Bible says God knit Kate together in your womb, Barb. She’s not an accident; she’s an accomplishment in God’s eyes. Some would say the Devil did this. But the Bible says the Devil can’t do anything that God won’t let him do. Amen?’”

“We had no idea whether this was true or not,” I commented. “But we nodded our heads because we were hoping what he was saying was true.”

“And?” asked John.

“He said to us, ‘I must ask you a very important question.’ He paused for a moment and then asked us, point-blank, ‘Do you want Kate healed?’”



  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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