July 2015 Column Winner

Consider the lilies of the field

Faith Wylie, Oologah Lake Leader

White lilies bloomed in the office garden this week.
All the rain made the Asiatic lily plant grow. And grow. The more rain beat down the stems, the more they grew.
Two gangly stems drooped to the dirt and weeds. Another was tangled in the bush behind it.
On Friday, I took pity on the poor plant. The overeager bush behind was brought back to size. A metal stake provided support, while awkward loops of newspaper twine lifted the flower stalks into the sun.
Always before, the plant has produced two or three blooms. While tying it up, I counted a dozen buds.
I felt foolish that night as John tweezered a seed tick from my foot. Why did I risk my health playing with those pathetic lilies?
Accounting was my weekend task, not dallying in the garden. I returned to the grim task of tallying medical deductions and mileage for our personal taxes.
The cost of cancer is daunting. Here’s our count for 2014:
• $12,310 in out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance.
• 9,518 miles driven.
• $9,332 for hotels, air fares, meals and expenses for the patient and family.
• $9,125 for extra help at the office and home.
It totals over $33,000. That doesn’t include my 2013 diagnosis and brain surgery, or the 2015 recovery costs. And we have good health insurance.
I wished I hadn’t completed the task.
The first lily unfurled itself on Sunday, another on Monday.
Raindrops clung to the ruffled petals. Near the throat, the petal texture was like white dotted Swiss fabric. The stamens hung heavy with pollen.
I got the message.
Don’t worry. I am blessed to be alive. We had retirement funds to borrow against.
With a little support, we can bloom through the storms of life.

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