Today my Father is lying on an operating table for a yet to be determined number of hours.  I’m counting the hours at over 8 ½ now.  He is having a procedure done to address a recent malady of a rapidly beating heart.  For a few months now his heart has been at risk of racing up over 200 beats per minute.  There is a name for it and he has been under medical care and had two medical interventions on his heart already. 

            I have had a very hard time with my Father’s heart misfiring.  Or more accurately, I’ve been very troubled by the possibility of his heart ceasing to fire altogether.  The procedure he is having today was developed in the last five years and has an outstanding success rate.  I’m told his surgeon is one of the best in his field.  I have much to be thankful for and peaceful about. 

            However, I realize that I am not only encountering my Father’s mortality in his racing heartbeats and the image I have of him lying under anesthesia and the surgeon’s care.  This is not a welcomed encounter, not something I have wanted or desired.  I am also re-meeting the experiences and shared sorrows of Jason and Rich going into the hospital last year and not returning to their families.  My heart is breaking still and reminded freshly of the pain.  I think this is part of why the past few months of my Dad’s heart problems have brought me to such heavy and profuse tears.  And the connection of my Dad’s heart issues to the possible cause of my sister’s sudden death enforces the internalized knowledge that all does not go as we wish or expect. 

         So I am grieving and praying again for my friends who lost Jason and Rich (and Jonah and Jonathan and Peter and…) and who know the shock of immediate hopes not being met.  But, oh beautiful hope-laden consultion, I am also being prompted to remind myself of the peace that was quite thick in the ICU room where Jason lay connected to so many machines (but truly connected to so much more) and the fortitude of Judy’s voice and demeanor after Rich preceded us homeward.  And I have to remind myself, and I have to once again thank God for the ocean like way in which I knew myself to be lifted and carried along in a grace and strength I had not formerly known while stunned by my sister’s parting.  We are shocked, battered, laboring under grief, changed but not ever ever alone.  God is with us in comfort and in a hope that will not be denied despite all current tremblings and pains.  And God is with us in the presence of those who stand beside us holding us in God’s arms made flesh over and over again.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the suffering of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” II Corinthians 1:3-5

My trembling prayers are going out for many of you right now as many of you are praying for me and my Dad.  Thanks.