If I shared with you what’s been happening around me the last 60 hours it might give you some reason to pause. But before I share a few details, I’ll first say that I know my life pales in comparison to what some endure for much more than just 60 hours. I am grateful for some calm in what has been a rough few days of seas.
Over the weekend, on Saturday, I was getting a haircut and having my truck washed close to Noon. I stopped into a local deli here in Charlotte to buy some chicken salad and pimento cheese spreads that my wife had asked me to pick up on the way home. I figured I’d only be in the deli a few minutes so I just left my cell phone in the truck as I went inside. The purchase took a little longer because I saw a couple friends and made small talk while waiting in line to pay the cashier. When I got back to the truck, my wife had texted me saying “Call me as soon as you get this. It’s URGENT!”.
I knew something was up since she’d never sent me that kind of message before. “Your dad’s had a heart attack and they’re transporting him to the emergency room. Call your mom ASAP.” were the words I heard when I finally called home. I raced home, got a few more details, then raced to the hospital to meet my parents. Dad had indeed suffered a heart attack, not the mention, paramedics had to shock him to get his heart rate back in rhythm. I spent the next several hours talking to doctors, meeting with my parents, and relaying important details to family members.
We monitored progress over the weekend and listened to a plan that the doctors described would take place over the next several days. Most signs seemed to say Dad would need a pacemaker implanted, but the docs wanted to run a few more tests to be sure.
The weekend was exhausting, going back and forth to the hospital, but I was thankful for a good comfortable bed on Monday evening back at home.
I don’t recall hearing the phone ringing shortly before midnight on Monday night. All I remember hearing was my wife saying, “Oh my God…the neighbor’s house is on fire!” To that, I sprang out of bed, grabbed some running shoes instinctively and headed out the back door. The next sight I saw was something I will remember for a very long time; flames shooting out of our neighbors garage door and quickly spreading to the downstairs kitchen. I ran towards the house and was immediately relieved when I saw the whole family across the street, shocked but safely out of the burning home.
All these details, however, are really just background information for what’s been weighing on my mind for most of today. How many of us say the words, “I’ll keep you in my prayers” instinctively without really giving it much thought. How many of us say those things without really doing the most important piece….the “prayer”? Several of my co-workers said those words to me…mostly as a sign of care and comfort. And I said many times to my neighbors when the flames were finally extinguished, “Thank God everyone is okay.”
The truth here is that I firmly believe that my co-workers probably did say some short little prayers for my dad. And I certainly had a moment today…maybe more than once, actually….where I closed my eyes to give a word of thanks for our dear neighbors.
I can’t say that I’ve always done that however. And one of the things I’m going to try and do a better job of doing is to “mean what I say….and say what I mean”. I want to pray more…. more often….and I want to pray about the people around me. I don’t ever want anyone to think I was just being cliche’.
Is this important? You bet. Jesus says in John’s Gospel that He prays for all who believe in him:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17: 20-21
So the next time you find yourself saying, “You’re in my prayers….“, take the time to put them in those prayers.
That is, afterall, my sincere prayer for all of us today.