"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godship;
so that they are without excuse."
Today my husband and I had a chance to experience this once again in our lives. We have been regular visitors to The City Of Hope in southern California for sometime now. My husband has been closely observed there for the past few years to keep an eye on a potentially life threatening cancer. Because we are only in our 30's the doctors are extremely diligent iabout catching the cancer early should it decide to take that turn. Thankfully he has never been officially diagnosed but we must keep an eye on it with regular biopsies and screenings for the next few years before the doctors can give him a definitive "Cancer Free" status. So every few months we make the one hour drive to Monrovia, California to The City Of Hope Cancer Research Hospital.
Today, our visit was uneventful as usual and gratefully so. After the appointment we took our usual stroll around the beautiful grounds. The City Of Hope boasts one of the state's most breathtaking rose gardens and landscaped areas. They have a firm belief in the healing power of nature and thus have many different areas of meditation and peaceful reflection for the patients to visit. It is not unusual to find patients in wheelchairs, with IVs in tow, visiting the many beautiful garden areas. We have often times seen cancer sufferers in hospital gowns and scarve clothed heads (from the loss of their hair); sitting serenely by the fountains or waterfalls. Sometimes they welcome conversation and other times we see that they are in quiet reflection so we quietly and respectfully move on and allow them their privacy.
We were under the impression that we had already seen all of the gardens on previous visits but were pleasantly surprised today when we stumbled upon the most breathtaking Japanese style garden! It was lush with bamboo and other plants native to Japan with a large and serene pond nestled at it's base.
The pond itself was amazing enough but it was what was inside the pond that actually took our breath away! Inside this pond were hundreds and hundreds of beautifully colored Koi fish, carp and turtles! The colors ranged from bright red to gold and cream with everything in between being represented .
Then the most amazing thing happened! When we stooped down at the water's edge ALL (and I mean every single one!) of the koi came rushing over to greet us with gaping mouths open wide! Apparently koi are friendly and intelligent fish who like to interact with humans and especially so when food is involved. We did find a fish food dispensary which gave a scoopful of food for 25 cents but unfortunately it had yet been to be refilled.
The fish clamored and climbed over one another in hopes that we had purchased some of the food. It was amazing to see these wide mouthed beauties stick their entire bodies out of the water in anticipation of something yummy. Those that were in the back of the crowd would jump completely out of the water and land on their sides dolphin style almost as if to get a better look at what was on the menu! There were also Red Eared Slider turtles covered in soft and dewy moss that climbed out of the water and onto rocks in hopes of a treat. These fish and turtles were so friendly that I could have literally reached down and petted them with my hand if I wasn't such a chicken!
We strolled the garden and communed with these fascinating creatures for quite a while when it hit me why this garden was even here at a hospital to begin with. I immediately remembered this favorite scripture (above) and realized how much fun my husband and I were having, how much laughter and smiles we were exchanging and I thought "no wonder this place was here". The hospital must have known how healing such an experience could be. How one's immune system could easily be stimulated and the body flooded with endorphins and feelings of well being from such and experience! We gave credit to the City Of Hope for thinking so thoughtfully about the well being of its patients and their difficult recovery process but first and foremost we gave thanks to "The Creator Of All Things" who created this beauty and wisdom that sat before us and who created us with the ability to enjoy it and share it with others to the benefit of all mankind.