We got a phone call, last Thursday night, that my two year old grandson, 700 miles away, was in the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. A little while later I found out he had been helicoptered to a university hospital and was on a ventilator.
It was the night before our parish retreat at Trinity Center, where my husband and I would have leadership roles in morning and evening prayer services. Part of me wanted to get on a plane and fly to where my grandson was. Maybe I could help with something. But instead I prayed and tried to have faith that God had this covered. I asked for prayers on Facebook, something I don’t do often, especially for myself or some one in my family. Why is it easier for me to ask for prayers for some one outside of my family, or total strangers even? Maybe it’s the scary part of feeling vulnerable when I ask for prayers for myself or some one close to me.
The little guy was on my mind all day Friday. I’d called my Dad, the most powerful prayer warrior I know, to join the team. At times I was able to push away my fears and visualize my grandson healthy and strong, running and playing outside with a smile on his face. That felt like the right thing to do.
Late Friday afternoon, at Trinity Center, my husband, David, asked me to follow him. I figured he wanted to show me something. He took me to the little chapel where tea light candles rested in a bowl of sand, waiting. Together, we lit a candle for my grandson, and David read from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: A Prayer for Healing. I was moved that he thought of this. After dinner, at the Compline service, I asked my church family to pray with me. I prayed for my grandson’s healing, for wisdom for his doctors and nurses, and for comfort to his parents. I was worried, but something told me God was working on this.
On Saturday morning, we got up at dawn to watch the sun rise over the ocean, but the sky was overcast, so we couldn’t see the sun. Instead we watched pelicans dive for their breakfast. After our breakfast in the dining hall, we had Morning Prayer, discussion and meditation time. Then, I went back to our room to get an update on my grandson. His doctor had decided to use a scope to take a look into his collapsed right lung. They found an obstruction that could not be removed with the scope, so surgery was needed. The obstruction turned out to be a kidney bean.
Who knew kidney beans could cause that kind of trouble?
That night, during Evening Prayer, I was filled with gratitude as we sang “Amazing Grace” accompanied by simple guitar chords and the sweet rain dancing outside.
After the kidney bean was removed, my grandson’s condition began to improve right away. His right lung started to work, and he came off the ventilator. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. His mom said he was so ready to go, he almost ran out the door.
What a relief to know he was okay! But it was not a total surprise. I’d felt the fear, but there was much more hope. Being at Trinity Center, surrounded by nature, with my husband and members of our church family, was a big comfort. I realized how important it is to have good support and to have a relationship with a loving, caring power greater than ourselves.
Thank you, God!
For a look at Trinity Center, where we held our parish retreat: