We arrived at the hospital just after 5:00 A.M. on Thursday. Although he was asleep my wife did not hesitate to wake him up and let him know we were there. To our pleasant surprise he smiled and called us by name. (He didn't even complain that we woke him up.) There are some gifts of grace present even in the most difficult circumstances. We are wise not to take those moments for granted.
Although my wife's brother stabilized prior to our arrival at the hospital, he and his family still face a long uphill road in the recovery process. None of us know what the future holds. However, in the midst of suffering, trials, and tribulations, it is good to know that we are loved. If there is anything my wife's family can hold on to in the midst of a major struggle, it is love. If being overwhelmed with people in your hospital room causes you to improve in your condition, it is no wonder why my brother-in-law saw such a dramatic improvement. (Either that, or he was hoping we would all leave if he showed signs of improvement.)
Our culture frequently diminishes the value of family. We are a mobile society and many times we are separated by distance. Please realize that distance does not mean that we are unable to remain close in our relationships. It is definitely easier to physically see one another when we live in close proximity, but that is still not a guarantee of closeness. It is also possible to live close together and make the choice not to see each other.
One day just after parking in the hospital garage, I heard my name called from behind. I turned around to see someone I had known my whole life. As a matter of fact her daughter and I went to grade school together and also ended up at the same university many years later. She informed me that her daughter had suffered bleeding on the brain. It was so sad to hear this because her daughter had suffered immensely even back in elementary school. My prayers are being lifted up for her recovery and for her whole family. This is another family that understands the bond of love.
Finally, my nephew and his wife became parents for the second time while I was in town as well. They were in the same hospital as my brother-in-law so I got to see Addison the morning after she was born. What a gorgeous baby who is sure to bring much joy into this world! Congratulations to her mom and dad. I am happy for the two of you.
The ups and downs of life seem to be the consistent factor for most of us. I pray for all who are suffering and struggling in any way. May you find strength, healing, and peace through the difficulties. I pray in thanksgiving for all who are experiencing profound joys and happiness in life. These blessings are not to be taken lightly. My prayer for all of us is that we encounter the living God in all aspects of our lives--in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health!