I wrote this in response to a conversation with my dad on the fourth of July. I intend to submit it to Chicken Soup, whose submission page states that we can submit items published on our personal blogs. It’s very different than my fiction. and most of my other non-fiction. This is the second piece I’ve written regarding spirituality. I seem to be holding to an eclectic voice even in this. Hope you enjoy.!.
And Daddy Prayed
Even before the stroke on Mother’s Day, my 89 year old father wondered: Why am I still here? What purpose do I still serve in God’s plans?
Then the stroke happened. It was thankfully fairly mild, and he came home after a week. After one or two days at home, he went back to the hospital. Unfortunately, the effects of the overdose of medication has not been mild. We just celebrated the Fourth of July, and hopefully he will be home soon.
Throughout this, there have been times where he didn’t know what was going on. At one point, he gave up. It was in the tired planes of his face, in the droop in his shoulders, his voice that lost its fire. The “rehab” he was in, while modern and nicely furnished, crushed his independence. This old war bird, proud Navy man from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, was reduced to needing the help of churlish and neglectful people. It took its toll in both body and spirit.
When he was transferred from the “rehab” to the hospital, he started coming back. He still had health problems, still tired out so easily, but was starting to be him again. When I was told he’d be going to a different rehab, I was terrified. Indifference and incompetence had almost cost us our father— would this place finish him off?
It’s not as pretty, as shiny new as the other. But it’s the people who count, and they make a difference. I know this to be true, because Dad is starting to come back. The things that make him uniquely him are coming back.
Including his ministry.
We were out on the patio: Dad, my 9 year old son and I. Dad I started a conversation, and it went as most of ours do. Wide ranging and far flung, we can talk about anything and everything. He started telling me of the people he had met in the rehab, and how he feels an embarrassment of riches not only because his family visits, but also his anticipated home coming.
“There’s a woman in the room right next to me,” he began. “Every night, she calls out ‘Oh Lord, oh Lord, please come take me home.’ All night long she cries out. In that other place, there were two who would do it. I need to tell you something, though.”
Tears thickening his voice, he continued on. “So I started praying for them. Not for me, but for them to have comfort, peace, a restful night. Every time I pray for them, keeping them in my heart, He answered. They were comforted. The woman next to me will call out, then find peace for an hour or two, then call again. Every time, He comforts her. Because I prayed.
“Their heads don’t think right any more. They’re broken inside. But deep down, you have to remember that they are human beings too. They need comfort too!” I grabbed hold of his hand as he cried, moved beyond words at the testimony my father had just given me.
Have I had the open heart, the courage, to pray as he does? Not yet. But I’m practicing it. A day before this talk, I would have been stewing in anger over my own lost sleep. I hope that with practice, I’ll be able to love a stranger like that.
To open up your heart like that, then be able to share the story. That’s a powerful ministry. So powerful that I could not keep the words inside myself. When I got home, I called my sister. Then I sat down and began to write.
And as I write, I pray.
Thank you, Lord, for showing Daddy and I how a little prayer can do so much for a person.
Copyright 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver