Prayers for Pappaw

TUESDAY
-thankful thoughts-

Well, today I have many things for which I am thankful. After all, even the smallest beacons of hope shine brightly against a backdrop of dark circumstances.

Today I write to you on my phone from the Methodist University hospital in Memphis. My grandfather has had a stroke. After waking up to the phone call, jumping out of bed, rushing from Starkville to Grenada, MS, waiting in the hospital with my Aunt Cindy for the helicopter to airlift him, driving back to his house, packing bags at the house, driving to Memphis, and now 9 hours later and still in the ER, here I am. It’s been a long day, but there’s one thing, also, of which I’m certain: it’s been a blessed day.

Surrounded by family and friends, we have felt the presence of prayers to our Heavenly Father–the True Healer–bringing peace to our weary bodies and our anxious hearts. Yes… God is good; He is always good.

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So today, especially in this hospital ER, we give thanks to the Lord for the family here, the friends that drove here to be with us, the friends at home yet with us in spirit through thoughts and prayers. Today, we are thankful for many things, especially your prayers for Pappaw.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

God is always good

I arrived in Memphis on Friday afternoon.   In the hospital parking lot, I parked my brother’s “Frat-finder,” a car that I never thought that I’d be allowed to drive.

My mom greeted me at the hospital entrance.  A warm smile and twinkling eyes–proof of our shared genome–brightened the stark hospital as the distance between us closed.  I bent down towards her open arms.  Another inch taller, I must have grown.

“Sissy,” she warned me, “remember that she hasn’t eaten in a week, and she has a NG (Nasal-Gastrointestinal) tube in her nose.  They just gave her more medicine for her pain so she’s pretty out of it.”

We jumped elevator “W” and traveled up two levels to reach the fourth floor.  You know how hospitals are…

“She’s in room 402,” my mom said while leading the way.  She looked back at me and stepped inside.  Across the threshold of the hospital door was the collection of Pappaw, Aunt Cindy, and Mom.  But there covered in hospitals sheets was the angel that I had come to see: my sweet Mammaw.

There lay the woman that I realized I love more than I ever thought possible.  The head instructor of “Mammaw’s cooking school” and the sharer of all her favorite magazines–Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Woman’s Day, Southern Living, etc.–Mammaw became something even more to me in that moment.  Sarah Geraldine McGregor Harden became living proof of Christ’s love dwelling among us and the miracle of life.  That is who she was to me when I first saw her in her hospital bed.  Praise be to God that she is still that same woman and even more to me today.

From this season, I am learning many things.  Most of all, though, I am learning this: God is always good.

Just as I wrote that previous sentence, the squeals of my 5, 7, and 10 year old cousins erupted.  “Mammaw tooted!” they exclaimed, and the eruption of a thousand giggles and “whoo hooos!” filled the house.  The picture at the beginning of the post is actually the drawing that Larson, the almost 7 year-old, drew for Mammaw last night to encourage her “to toot.”

But even with giggles in the air, I remember a young girl at the camp where I worked this past summer.  Her name was Alden, and she was fighting cancer.  Even just before the good Lord called her home to His arms, even she believed a lesson that some of us will never understand nor believe:  God is good.  God is always good.

Praise the Lord that we are celebrating how “Mammaw tooted!” but I’m remembering Alden and all that she tried to teach us through her life.  I’m learning that even if the news we were receiving were that from a different story, God would still be good.

God is always good.