Yesterday did not go as I planned.
My Sweet William and I went to Audubon Hospital for a scheduled heart catheterization on Bill’s heart. I was hoping, expecting for something routine like a stint in a mildly blocked artery. After the test, the doctor’s report did not meet my expectations. One artery was completely blocked and two others were 80 percent blocked. Open heart surgery was the only recommended option.
I’m glad there was a door frame on my immediate left for me to fall against.
We learned that the heart surgeon had an opening at 2:30 (sounds like making a hair appointment!). Bill made the decision to go for it since he had not eaten or drank anything since the day before. The next few hours were a flurry of medical tests and preparations for surgery. I began making calls to family, friends, and coworkers. My mind started mentally adjusting to this new information, changing all my plans for the next few days, even weeks.
Time and again as I talked with someone on the phone, he or she said, “Let me pray with you right now.” And how I needed it. I was trying to be calm and composed on the outside, to be strong for Bill; on the inside, however, I was crumbling into pieces.
My friend, Margie, had come at 8 am to be with me through the heart cath. At the news of impending surgery, she set her mind to stay with me throughout the long day.
Two men from our Sunday School class, Paul and Ronnie, and a couple of my family members, Danny and Linda, had also been with us during the test. They left and went home around 11 am. When they heard surgery was imminent, all four of them returned in the afternoon, holding vigil with me.
Staff in the heart wing were divinely appointed to be there for us. A man named Darrell helped to prepare Bill for surgery while they talked about the goodness of the Lord. One of the surgical nurses told Bill she would say a prayer with him before he went under the anesthetic.
Thankfully, I did not have to walk this day alone. People kept arriving, pastors, Little Flock staff, our Sunday School teacher and his wife, and more family. Our son, Travis, his sweet Renee and the three grandchildren came bringing hugs and smiles. My 89-year-old dad came rolling up in a wheelchair, pushed by my stepmother, Esther. Calls came to me and to Travis, assuring us that prayers were being lifted up toward the throne of grace for a successful surgery for Bill and strength for us.
About 8 pm when surgery was over and the recovery room gave way to an intensive care room, we were allowed to see Bill, tubes and wires connected in so many places. My dad said a short prayer. Bill would spend the night being carefully monitor and attended.
As was recommended and urged by caring people, I went home to try to rest my weary body and mind in preparation for the long days that follow heart surgery. I decided to briefly look at Facebook. I was astonished to see so many comments from friends of mine, Travis’ and Renee’s saying they were praying for all of us. The messages kept me scrolling down the screen as I read each one.
It sometimes takes an event such as an emergency surgery to remind me what a vast circle of love encompasses us. The promised prayers were lifting us up, giving us strength to endure, filling us with God’s love.
A very profound thought comes from John 13:35. It reads,
“This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other,” (The Message).
I stand as a witness to this truth. God’s amazing plan was that we would need each other. As His children, we love others because He first loved us.
Friends rally around when you are hurting. They come, they care, they offer, they pray, they stay. Tonight I feel so blessed to be the recipient of this kind of friendship, this kind of love. It is God’s hand extended and one of the ways He makes Himself known in the world.