The  smell of rain 

A  cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor  walked into the small hospital room of

Diana Blessing. She was still  groggy from surgery.

Her  husband, David , held her hand as they braced  themselves  for the latest  news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had  forced  Diana, only  24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an

emergency  Cesarean to  deliver couple's new daughter, Dana  Lu Blessing. 

At 12 inches  long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was  perilously premature..

Still, the  doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. 'I  don't think she's going to make it,' he said, as kindly as he

could.  'There's  only a 10-percent chance she will live through the  night, and even  then, if by some slim chance

she does make  it, her future  could be a very cruel one'

Numb  with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the  devastating problems Dana would likely

face if she  survived. 

She would  never walk, she would never talk, she would  probably be  blind, and she would certainly be prone to

other catastrophic conditions  from cerebral palsy to  complete mental  retardation, and on and on. 
 
'No! No!'  was all Diana could say.

She and  David , with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they  would have a daughter to

become a family of four.  Now, within  a matter of hours, that dream  was slipping  away

But  as those first days passed, a new agony set in for  David and Diana.  Because Dana 's underdeveloped nervous

system was  essentially  'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only  intensified her  discomfort, so they couldn't even

cradle their tiny baby girl against  their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as  Dana  struggled  alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was  to

pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. 

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew  stronger. 

But  as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce  of  weight  here and an ounce of strength there.

At  last, when Dana turned two months old. her parents were able to hold her  in their arms for the very first time. 

And  two  months later, though doctors continued to gently  but  grimly  warn that her chances of surviving, much

less living any kind of normal  life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her  mother had

predicted.

Five  years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering  gray eyes and an unquenchable zest

for life.

She  showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or  physical  impairment. Simply, she was everything a little  girl 

can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her  story. 

One  blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near  her  home  in Irving , Texas , Dana was sitting in her mother's

lap  in  the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball  team was practicing.

As always, Dana was chattering nonstop  with her mother and several other   adults  sitting nearby, when she

suddenly fell  silent.  Hugging  her arms across her chest, little Dana asked,  'Do  you smell that?'  

Smelling  the air and detecting the approach of a  thunderstorm,  Diana replied, 'Yes, it smells like rain.'


Dana closed her  eyes and again asked, 'Do you smell that?' 

Once  again, her mother replied,  'Yes,  I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain.'

Still  caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with  her small hands and loudly

announced,  'No, it smells like  Him.  It  smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.' 

Tears  blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other  children.

Before the rains came, her daughter's words  confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing

family  had known, at least in their hearts, all along.

During  those long days and nights of her first two  months  of  her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for

them  to  touch  her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she  remembers so well.