(The adults in this story gave me their permission to write this.)
The parking ramp was full. The tight corners and skinny spots made me wish there was an easier way, but my visit could not be postponed.
This was the second time visiting a member of the congregation at this particular hospital. Another story of ressurection – surgeries, tests and days in bed, I turned the corner and found her walking with her physical therapists. With joy, I am able to relay that she is doing amazingly well and is going to rehab.
Yet, my visit with her, her husband, and two of her children was not the only celebration of the day.
On my way to the elevator, I heard a voice that grabbed onto my soul.
“How about those chairs instead, they look more comfortable.”
A man’s voice, a father’s voice, gently and happily redirecting his two young children from a solid bench to a circle of comfy chairs.
It was my heart that heard the voice.
I cannot say how, or why, but the reverberations sent through that voice was overpowering.
Gentle, direct, loving, and strong.
As if radio waves were sent out from this man’s, this father’s, being, lovingly encouraging and hugging all in their path. “The force is strong with this one”, my neighbors might say.
The elevator doors opened, and I proceeded upstairs and the feeling shifted from a weight in my being to tears in my eyes.
I took the elevator back down, not sure what I was going to do.
This guy is going to think I am crazy! Coming up to talk to him, a stranger, a “religious” person at that. He, a young father in a wheelchair, a brace around his neck, another brace around his leg, and, well, no foot at the end of that leg. Would he think I’m crazy? Bothering him and his family? Making a display in front of his kids? Who was I?
I was someone who received a special gift through him, from God. I had to say thank you.
I first spoke with his wife, standing at a short distance as her husband spoke with hospital staff. I spoke briefly with the kids. I spoke with the man. They were so joyous in that he was getting better, that the neck brace could come off, that he was home after an almost 3 month hospital stay.
And the kids. The kids were a delight, focused on Halloween that night, focused on running and playing and being kids.
I still do not know exactly what happened. That strong impression that just radiated from him. I don’t know how I felt it. How I seemed to “get” his past and present and future. How I felt completely assured by God that this family would have a blessed future, that these kids would always see the good in this world first, that something amazing and wonderful would happen for them, and in this world, because of them.
The accident, rather than diminishing their lives, will only amplify it.
I have no illusions that it has been easy for them. I have no illusions that it is or will be easy for them.
Yet, I know God is with them and working through them in this world.
Lord, thank you for that gift of feeling Your presence through these strangers. I have no clue how you are working through them or that moment, but Lord, I know You are present and You are active and I praise You for it. Thank you for working in ways we cannot comprehend. Amen.