Press the Red Button


Someone sent me one of those “pass it along urgent messages”. In it, was a picture of car keys – the kind with remote locking. The message urged us to place our car keys beside our bed in case someone breaks in during the night- simply press the red button-the car horn will sound and you will be saved!

Days are so very long in the hospital and the nights are longer. I would park my car and maybe not even go back to it for a week or more so I did not always remember where it was parked.

At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the parking garage is underground and very LARGE.

My sister-in-law, Helena, and I left the hospital one night to get dinner for everyone. I confidently led the way off the elevator to where my car was. We got on and off the elevator two more times before I admitted I didn’t know where it was. Then one of us got the idea to press that magical red button on my remote.

And the horn sounded. It called out to us from somewhere in the parking garage. Excited, we took the elevator to the next level. But, we still could not find my car.

Finally, we abandoned the elevator and took to walking the ramp to the upper levels -taking the path we thought the sound of my horn was coming from.

We walked around and around that hospital parking garage, laughing at each other and at the situation – BIG, LARGE, LOUD laughter!
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” ~Victor Hugo

Laughing until we cried – we heard the echo of my car horn teasing us “find me” and we stopped every few minutes to press the red button again to keep the horn sounding.
And we thought if the security people were watching us on the video cameras they must of surely known we were Zack Mayo’s family. 

Our ears deceived us over and over in that dimly lit parking garage. And we decided we could not listen to what we were hearing. The echo of my horn, other cars starting and driving around were huge distractions for us to figure out which path we should take.

Finally we stopped and contained our giggling and waited for silence by the edge of the rail and pressed the red button again to hear the sound of my horn calling us to the lower levels.

We had to be still and listen…

That night in a dark parking lot Helena and I learned that we had to do more than press the red button to find what we were looking for. We had to be active in our seeking. We had to be still and listen to know which path to take.
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8).

And I learned that laughter is truly one of the most wonderful gifts from God. Laughter can heal hurt. Laughter can release sunshine through the clouds. Laughter can cleanse us like a fresh rain shower. Laughter can clear our thinking. Laughter is good for the soul…

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful. ” ~Bob Hope

We did finally find the car. And we laughed all the way to PF Changs and back with our take out. And dinner was very late. But we shared the story of pressing the red button and that story created such a happy, joyful hospital room as we all laughed ourselves silly.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22

And our laughter spilled out into the hallway on A5 South Oncology Unit where cancer- filled children filled every room…and everyone could hear the God-Joy in the Mayo family in A535.

May we all count it all JOY a Moment at a Time!

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5 thoughts on “Press the Red Button

  1. Awesome !!! You are such a gifted writer, Wendy. I nwas sitting here laughing at picturem you drew with words. Thank you for being such a blessing to so many.

  2. I’m laughing watching the picture you drew with yiour words. Oh how God is using you to be a blessing to so many! Thank you, Wendy.

  3. So very proud of you Wendy for putting this experience in writing! I KNOW there is so much more to come – and as you write – you will experience the promises of God to USE Zack’s story to touch many….

  4. Wendy, I feel I know you through my daughter, Dana Stensrud. As you know, she has had so many struggles which totally have paralyzed me at times. But laughter is such good medicine! Once, she was in the e/r suffering terribly with kidney stones, and they couldn’t get an iv in those scarred veins of hers. The room was being re-modeled and there was a toilet handle on the wall. We talked about it, wondering why it was there, I always tried to take her mind off of the immediate trouble, and just couldn’t discern it’s purpose. So, as my curiosity got the best of me, I pushed it! Water started gushing from the floor, and swooshing noises came from nowhere, Dana looked stricken, and I just grabbed my purse and ran! As I left the room she was shouting at me, “Mom! Come back here! What will I do when they come in here! Come back!” I just kept going. Eventually I did go back, there was no effort to release her into the night, and we found out it was to clean the floors! But to this day I can just mention it, and we both break out into belly laughs and tears! No one around us thinks it’s really very funny, but it is something we hang on to. Hang on to those moments. My prayers are with you all. Carol Davis ♥