Regular readers might have noticed a silence of postings here and at my Facebook page during the first week of February, as well as very few "tweets" for my Twitter followers around the same time.
While the political battles and outrages waged on, my mind and heart was somewhere else besides politics, the daily outrages, and promoting conservative ideas.
A couple of hours before lunch on Monday, February 3, I received a phone call from my baby sister (if you have a younger sibling, they're always your baby!) while I was at my day job. Calling during work isn't a good sign, we usually talk every other weekend or chat on Facebook.
My instincts were right. She called to tell me they were on the road to Central Texas from their home in Aggieland, as our father had been sent by ambulance to the hospital, and was going to undergo emergency surgery. The problem? Dad had an aortic aneurysm that was rupturing, and it was noticed by the EMTs in the ambulance when his blood sugar shot up. Even worse, he had been told years earlier by his doctor when our parents still lived in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas that it was inoperable, that if it ruptured or burst, the risk was too great and it would be the end. He'd accepted that.
But all that changed when he was rushed to the hospital. I was constantly nervous of the phone ringing, and also checking airfares from the DC area to either Austin or San Antonio, the closest airports to where my parents live, in case things took a downward turn and I needed to take an emergency flight there.
Yesterday afternoon, I saw a video of Dad being wheeled down the hallway of the rehabilitation center to the applause of the nurses and staff, as he was leaving to go back to the house where he and Mom have lived for almost two years. He said after he got home he thought on the ambulance ride to the hospital a month earlier he wouldn't make it back to the house.
The doctors have all said it is a miracle. Dad has survived something for which there is not a high survival rate. In fact, one patient who had the same surgery before Dad did died on a lifeflight helicopter ride to Austin. There were so many other elements in the process that all worked out in his favor. He'd felt dizzy that morning and told Mom he'd needed help, which is unusual for Dad, being the hard-headed German who won't tell you if anything is bothering him. Additionally, one of the best surgeons for this type of procedure was at the Central Texas hospital that Dad was admitted to that morning. In a case of life and death, there are always minutes and seconds where decisions are made that make a difference. That happened with Dad.
So, this is Dad's miracle, and one for our family that we still have our father, husband, and the Opa/Peepaw to his two grandsons. But this miracle did not originate from the work and timing of finite humans, or what is left of the greatness of our healthcare system (I really don't want to become political here). There was something else involved.
That's where faith comes in.
Those closest to me know that this past year has been one of the most difficult in my life, probably since the struggles I faced when I first left home about this time 22 years ago to enter the "real world." In the last few months, I've undergone personal loss and heartbreak that has forced a great deal of self-examination. I think there have been times here in blog posts I may have referred to myself as a "backslidden Christian," but my recent personal trials have led me back to embracing a belief, faith, and trust in God. I've been down the road of self-destructive behavior back in my late teens and early 20s, and know where it leads. This time, there was no other place to turn. Don't misunderstand, faith doesn't make me a perfect person, nor does it make me "better than" everyone else. The only difference is that I've put my trust in a loving God.
Faith and the power of Prayer was the only thing that got our family through this last month and a half with Dad. It was the first thing I did after receiving the news of Dad's condition and surgery. I believe with all my heart Dad has been given the gift of a second chance at life from God, to use to serve His purpose. But there was also a lesson in all of this for Mom, my sister and I--God is in charge, and it is a daily lesson to remember that and cast our cares upon him, because it is so easy to forget and think that it is all up to us. What I've seen and need to remember is that if God can work a miracle in something as major as saving a human life, He can do the same for whatever else we may be going through.
So that is where I've been these last few weeks and months. To those reading this, I'm not sure what may be going on in your life: good or bad at the moment. But I hope that if you're hurting, searching for answers, and maybe stumbled upon this post, that what our family has gone through might be of help and encouragement to you in whatever it is you may be going through.