“Those issues are biblical issues: to care for the sick, to feed the hungry, to stand up for the oppressed. I contend that if the evangelical community became more biblical, everything would change.”
(Dad, Mom and Jakey towards the end of his undefeated season.)
In case you didn’t know, my dad had a stroke a few weeks ago. We are thankful he is doing as well as he is, but he did spend a few days in the hospital. He will spend a few more, as he needs a couple of surgeries to get his health in order. He had one this week, and he’ll have another in a few weeks. The thing about his stroke is it snuck up on us. It wasn’t like he woke up with red stroke flags warning him that his brain was about to freak out over some clotted arteries (the cause). Instead he had a seizure which led to a trip to the ER then a hospital stay then a lot of doctors appointments then surgery and more surgery. He can’t drive for a few months, and that first hospital visit, well, it was not fun.
We have a lot of kids in our family and a lot of balls in the air on any given day, so it was amazing to see how our community pulled us through the initial diagnosis and surgery. I need to tell you that before the ambulance arrived to help my dad, a friend arrived at our house. He took my mom to the hospital, where more friends arrived. Virtually every waking minute he stayed, friends were there. My mom was never alone. He was never alone. The doctors and nurses noticed. We kids noticed. I’m pretty sure God noticed, because He’s answered prayer after prayer and been so faithful to bring protection and comfort to our family. My little brothers never seemed fearful about our dad. We explained things to them as best we could, and when they visited him at the hospital, they were glad to be there with him and quick to make stroke jokes. I think a lot of their security was anchored in the way my parents remained calm (if a little stressed) in the midst of everything. My parents security was anchored in God. It was good to see.
After my dad got out of the hospital, he has had to adjust to six months without a driver’s license, a medical mandate for people who’ve had seizures in the state of Texas. He’s on medication, but he won’t be behind the wheel for a while. My dad drives a lot for his job, and it’s been beautiful and amazing to see people come out of the woodwork to help my mom and dad. Life is busy, and yet when he needs to go somewhere, there’s almost always a driver. I’m sure it’s frustrating for Dad to be unable to just up and go, but I hope it’s encouraging for him to see how many people love him and are willing to help out.
A lot of the support in the midst of this has come from people from our church. Our extended family and friends and significant others have been amazing too. It’s incredible to consider the genuineness of community we’ve experienced in the past few weeks. My parents have attended our church for 20-plus years, and they try to love people well. The church teaches that the Kingdom of God is something we are meant to bring to others, and it looks like praying for the sick and sitting beside the hurting and meeting the needs of the poor. We believe that’s what Jesus did. I love that this is exactly what we’ve experienced in my parents’ hour of need. We are overwhelmed with just how blessed, how loved, how cared for we are. When people live the way they’re made to live, ordinary folks become superheros. For us, that’s looked like meals on the table and rides to appointments and ears for processing.
I say all that to say this: in the midst of this mess that is my dad’s stroke, we know we are loved. And that, my friends, is a gift, light in the darkness and hope that there’s more. Thank you.