It started with a phone call. Ever since the age of seven, the sound of a phone ringing can sometimes cause my heart to race, palms to sweat and breathing to stop. That particular call informed my dad that an Army officer would be over with news, news of my brother’s death in Vietnam. The image of the massive dent atop his metal desk forever etched in my mind.
There would be more phone calls in my life bearing startling news and the physical reactions the same. Like the call I received to come to the hospital for the doctor had test results for my mom. She had 6 months to live, when in reality she chose to live only weeks. A couple of years later a similar call from the nursing home telling me my daddy was ready to “go home.” Then there was a call informing us to come to our ob/gyn’s office. Our first baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Flash forward a few years and we have the phone call telling us my father-in-law had passed away. Six months later, the call from church friend checking to see if we were home. He then came over to tell us my brother-in-law, his wife and baby perished in a car accident earlier that afternoon. Then another six months later, a phone call from my eye doctor saying he “had the test results”. I had a difficult to treat amoeba in my eye. Interspersed among those personal phone calls have been ones Kent. my husband, has received as a pastor calling him to a church member’s bedside or home in their times of crisis.
So when the phone rang on this particular Sunday afternoon and the caller ID displayed the youth pastor’s name – we knew. My son Daniel served as Youth Intern at another local church that particular summer. He and his sister Beth were gone that Sunday with the youth for Sr. High Lake Day. I remember praying for them to be safe and the usual prayers one offers up in those scenarios. Around 4 that afternoon, the call came. Kent said, “I knew when I saw Scott’s name (the youth pastor) on Caller ID – something had happened to Daniel.” Sure enough – Daniel had been water skiing, jumping the wake and caught air. Then the ski popped off and in a flash – as he instinctively leaned forward (the wrong thing to do) the ski came back and hit him in the face. Daniel said later when he opened his eyes and saw the blood; he thought his eye was gone. Thankfully – this was not the case. If the ski had gone just a fraction over either left or right – well – praise God it didn’t.
Only a few hours before, Kent preached on the awesomeness of God and used as a portion of his text, Psalms 91.1, or the 911 passage to go to in times of trouble.
1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. KJV
I smiled remembering the first time I really heard those words – it was while spending time with my grandmother. Years after her passing, I noticed how she had a date written in her genteel script beside this verse – December 7, 1941 –the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. I know how much that verse provided comfort for her and my grandfather. If it was good enough for Grandma during those trying years – it’s good enough for me. I had no idea that I’d have to rely on them for strength again later that afternoon.
Trust – when things seem beyond our control, it seems as if that’s our only option. So as Daniel continued vomiting blood every 30 seconds, as nurses scurried around inserting IV’s and asking questions, as Daniel lay there shivering, prayer and trust would have to do. Trust that the CAT scan results would not reveal anything too serious. Trust that eventually the medication for nausea would take affect. Trust that God did have him in the shadow of His wings. What else can a mom do? I look up and realize we are directly across the way from the room Beth, my 18 year old daughter, had been taken to 5 years before when she collapsed at school. That situation also began with a phone call. Then it hits me – each of the phone calls bearing difficult news was always countered with the peace that goes beyond out understanding. As I sat there beside Daniel, I just continued to pray for him and meditated on that 911 scripture.
The CAT scan did show a fractured bone, lamina papyracea (or orbital lamina) near the sinus cavity separating the nose from the eye. It’s a very thin bone so –that’s why it broke easily. The bleeding was from this and his vomiting blood was from blood running down the back of his throat and his ingesting it. Apparently blood doesn’t settle well in the stomach and it automatically comes right back up. Three hours later, two more injections to control the nausea, one antibiotic to ward off infection, and super gluing the gashes, a short visit from the Youth Pastor and other concerned friends – we were finally released about 10 p.m. As he slept soundly in the recliner, his sisters handled the flood of texts coming to his phone and theirs.