Behind me on our bed sleep peacefully my beloved, beautiful, strong wife of 10 years (today!) and my courageous, strong, and yeah, beautiful, son. You want to know what beautiful music sounds like? Slow, peaceful, easy breathing, that's what it sounds like. On Sunday, March 4th, we took our son to the ER as he was working extremely hard to breathe, and today, 17 days later, we sleep in our little duplex together again. I promise to blog shortly on the initial impact of those 17 days, but tonight I have a real struggle, trying to say thanks in a way that captures what our heart feels.
How do you say thanks to a community that has been life and breath, the very words, hands, and feet of Jesus? "Community" has become, unfortunately, just a buzz word to many, but for us, it became peace and truth in a time of upheaval emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
How do we thank my dad and mom and my mother in law? All three endured every moment with us; faithfully, strongly, gently, and consistently. They called their life off to be by our side all day long, and even all night when we changed hospitals. My dad was strength and calm and reinforcement for me moment by moment. What words fit here?
How do I thank my sister who could not spend every moment at the hospital, she has a six month old precious girl, but who endured every moment on the phone, who's questions helped me ask the right questions of the doctors and nurses, and who was most importantly, my sister? And to my brother in law for coming and offering encouragement and strength when events from his past made that extremely difficult emotionally and psychologically.
What can I say to my sister in laws, Terri and Tina, who brought food, love, and laughter? Terri even brought up blankets and pillows for some folks at the St Francis waiting room who had none.
How do we thank my dear, dear friends and pastors, Kyle and Steve? What my wife and mother and mother in law needed from me was strength, courage, calm, and faith. How do I express what it means to me that when I needed those things, they were there, hands on my shoulders, lifting me physically, emotionally, and spiritually? I just don't have the words, my brothers! Kyle even came and stayed up all night at our son's bedside his first night on the ventilator praying so that we could get some much needed rest.
How do we say what's on our hearts to: Chad, for coming and allowing me to get lost in music for just a few minutes, and for bringing his unique sense of humor where it was so needed; to Cathy M, for keeping an early morning prayer vigil and giving my wife some relief and holding my son so she could sleep; to Kara B for coming and holding his hand and gently speaking encouragement to him, and us; to Heather, for coming and giving a really good hug and encouraging words; to Dave for simply coming and offering great conversation and warmth; to Cathy D for two meals, much needed smiles and hugs; to Laura E for listening to us ramble and for a really fantastic salad; to Angela for the use of her laptop, for dinner, and for just thinking of the little things that were so helpful; to Jerry and Jaime for scrambling up after work and getting dinner and superb brownies to us; to Laura L for being there and bringing pillows and blankets; to Daniel for your reassuring presence and smile; to Athena for the gift card, magazines, and drinks; we are so grateful!
To J.D. and Shannon, and Matt and Adrienne, for your deep friendship and support (and for the Bueno, J.D., diet be damned!)
To so many whose prayers weaved amazing support and strength, it was something that we could tangibly feel.
To all those who came to the hospital, to those who couldn't come but prayed fervently, to those who I've undoubtedly forgot to name, you have all been Jesus to us. We feel both incredibly humbled and incredibly loved, and we love you.