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This article is about the radio episode. For other uses, see Karen (disambiguation)
#50: “Karen”
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Psalm 23:1-6

11 A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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November 23, 2013
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“Karen” is episode #50 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on November 26, 1988.


Donna Barclay tries to cope when her best friend, Karen Crosby, becomes ill with cancer.



A group of kids at Whit's End disclose the topic of the hour: Young, vivacious, outgoing Karen Crosby has cancer. It's in her leg bone, and it's spreading. Whit and Donna Barclay, Karen's best friend, are on their way to see her in the hospital. Donna is nervous before entering, but a quick prayer and encouragement from Whit see her through the visit.

Karen is surprisingly chipper. She's cheered when Donna tells her that everyone misses her, especially Ferguson, her cat, which Donna is watching. After a brief visit, a nurse enters and announces that visiting hours have ended. Whit and Donna start to go, but Karen calls Donna back. Karen tells Donna to make sure the school saves her a place in the Fall Festival program. Donna agrees. At school three days later, she persuades the organizers of the program to keep Karen's spot open.

That afternoon Donna goes to the hospital to deliver the news. She is met by her mother, Mary Barclay. Mary sits Donna down and tells Donna that Karen had an operation earlier that morning. The cancer was worse than anyone thought, and the doctors had to amputate Karen's leg to stop the cancer from spreading.

A few days later, Donna visits Karen, who seems to be in better spirits than ever. Karen tells Donna about an incredible dream she had during the operation: She saw Jesus, and He was healing people. There were several people whom He didn't heal, and when they asked Him to heal them, Jesus said, "I have something better for you." Then He turned to Karen and said, "I have something better for you, too." Karen says there's a good chance she'll be released soon, to appear in the Fall Festival. She has something special planned.

The following week at the Festival, Karen doesn't disappoint. She hobbles on stage on crutches and recites the words of a hymn called In a Land of Fadeless Day.

A few days later, Donna bursts into Whit's End in a panic - Ferguson the cat has run away! Fortunately, Karen, very weakened, takes it all in stride. She's sure Ferguson will return - just as Karen's sure she will die soon. Donna can't bear to hear that, but Karen comforts her that one day, they'll both be together again in heaven.

A week later, Donna sits by herself in the Bible Room, thinking about Karen, who has just passed away. Whit enters, and they discuss Karen's funeral. Whit offers comfort from Scripture. This helps lift Donna's spirits, but she's still afraid she'll eventually forget her friend. Just then, Connie enters, bearing a special package: Ferguson the cat has returned. Cheered by the presence of the cat and the hope of Jesus, Donna now knows she will never forget Karen.

Discussion Questions

  1. How could Karen be so peaceful about her illness?
  2. In Karen’s dream, what did Jesus mean when He said He had something better for her?
  3. Why shouldn’t Christians fear death and the grave?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Helen Davis Mr. Roth


  • VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] In the broadcast version of this episode (and audio cassette), Chris reads Psalm 23.
  • PARENTAL WARNING: This story is about the sickness and death of a young girl. While told sensitively, it contains subject matter that may be too intense for younger children.



John Whittaker: Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Donna Barclay: Karen is the only one I'd go to a hospital for.

Karen Crosby: My books! Thank you, you're a life saver. If I had to watch one more soap opera or game show, I woulda thrown my water jug at the TV screen.

Karen Crosby: You know what they say about hospital food.
Donna Barclay: Yeah?
Karen Crosby: It's true. Mrs. Murray and I were playing marbles with our peas.
John Whittaker: Mrs. who?
Mrs. Murray: If you pull back that curtain, you'll find out!

Karen Crosby: When I get out of here I'll come back to see you.
Mrs. Murray: Bring me a cake with a file in it.

Karen Crosby: In the land of fadeless day Lies the city foursquare; It shall never pass away, And there is no night there. All the gates of pearl are made, In the city foursquare; All the streets with gold are laid, And there is no night there. All the gates shall never close To the city foursquare; There life’s crystal river flows, And there is no night there. There they need no sunshine bright, In that city foursquare; For the Lamb is all the light, And there is no night there. God shall wipe away all tears, There’s no death, no pain, nor fears, And they count not time by years, For there is no night there. Thank you.

Karen Crosby: That's what I've been thinking. No matter what happens now, we'll see each other again because we both love Jesus. Sooner or later we'll be in heaven, and then we'll have all of forever to be friends.