Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On Those People Who Are Precious To Me

 For some reason, at this very moment I recall a summer walk with my Dad when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was wearing a tie dyed Strawberry Shortcake t-shirt.  He and I would always go on evening walks at our farm.  We would walk up the road to the neighboring farm and if the mood struck him right he would walk me through the woods to a clearing to watch for deer.  I don't remember talking that night I just remember being there with him, sitting on the rail fence in the quiet.
 My precious Dad's health rapidly declined this year.  By the beginning of the summer we felt helpless, unsure of what was wrong, but knowing that something had to be done.  I packed up my kids and drove to their house, hoping to help some way.  After a series of unfortunate events he was hospitalized, and after even more unfortunate events I found myself being told by a doctor that they needed to sedate my Father to intubate him.  I leaned over my Dad and kissed his head.  I held him while they injected yet another round of something strong.  I wanted to tell him about that evening walk I remembered.  Instead I whispered, not to be afraid.  I told him that Jesus was right there with us.
 They wheeled him away to a critical care unit and the doctor told me of the difficulties that came from extubating patients and how he would possibly never come off of the ventilator.  My mind swirled. I felt like I was eight years old again.  I called my sister and told her to come.  My mother called family members.  I made arrangements for people to watch my children.  I clumsily went from room to room in my parents house organizing trying make sure that something, anything, was the way it should be.
My hand touched the back room shelf  and I thought of him. I searched for toys in the shed and thought of him.  With each move I made I realized that every corner of the house was infused with him.   Even more, every corner of me was infused with him.  My mind wrestled with thoughts of walking and talking and living in a world that he wasn't in and it just didn't make sense.
 When I returned to the hospital a man from my parents church was praying over my Father.  He sang "Bless the Lord Oh My Soul." He told me that whatever I was praying for my Father, to pray it expectantly because The Heavenly Father was listening.
I realized that I wasn't praying.  I had no words to pray because I felt eight years old and had no idea how to deal with sick Father.  Dad is strong. Dad knows everything, can fix anything, Dad is calm...This isn't my Dad.  This man...Father, I don't know how to pray for this.
 And then these Words "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Romans 8:26
 My Father's room filled up.  Brothers, sisters, friends, saints, all.  Praying for my Dad.  Praying that he would be well.  Praying for him when my words only came out as tears.
Two days later, still on the ventilator, Dad woke up and wrote us a note that said "I'm fine, go home."  The next day they extubated him with out any sign of trouble.  When I walked in the room he said "hey kid," and I said "don't you ever do that to me again."
A week later he was home.  A month later, his whole family was together under one roof.  
Thankful doesn't seem like a big enough word, but I am.
 I'm thankful for his life, thankful for the legacy that he and my mother have made.  There is nothing extraordinary about these pictures, but this family is rooted in love, and because of his testimony, his family is rooted in Truth.  On second thought, maybe they are extraordinary.
 The fear of losing him was real.  I feared what life would look like if he wasn't here.  But because of the faith that he instilled in me, real hope was never lost.  Even if the worst had come to pass, hope would not have ended because this man, my precious Father, knows Jesus.
Jesus that heard my wordless prayers.
Dad's health continues to improve.  His doctor, the one who told me he would likely never come off the ventilator, gave him the most improved patient award.
Thank you for praying friends.
Grace and Peace


Laura said...

I love that Bill Bennett and you, darling friend~

Art Teacher's Mom said...

Too hard for me to read this week.