Last week the 54 year old daughter of one of Beth's customers passed away in the very same ICU I was in for 24 days in September. She had slipped into a coma and they could not get her to wake up. All of this sounds eerily similar to me based on what happened (and did not happen) to me in September. It sends chills down my spine to think back to hearing about the patient across the hall from where I was at that hospital who passed away from a rampant infection running amuck inside them. The sepsis I had would have and should have killed me except for the effectual fervent prayers of so many of God's people.
I did not know the woman whose viewing we attended yesterday. Beth knew only the parents and had never met the daughter. Evidently we were the only people in the state of Missouri who did not know the woman. Never, in all the viewings, funerals, wakes and services I have attended have there been as many people as were there yesterday at the funeral home. There was nowhere to park, the line stretched out the front door and was so long we had to leave before getting to the front of the viewing room (at least Beth got to hug the mother though). Evidently this woman was not only well known in the community, but well loved; for it seemed the entire town turned out to pay their respects.
It is no secret that if I would have succumbed to sepsis in September, the number of people who would have come to pay their respects for me and provide comfort for Beth would have been measured in tens and not hundreds or thousands. I am not well known nor am I a highly beloved member of the community in which I live. I decided many years ago to live my life in relative obscurity, with only a few people I consider friends. I do not believe this is wrong any more than it is wrong to be a pillar of the community. I believe we all must live in such a way that we are at peace with ourselves and our God.
Actually, I am relieved that I did not have to pass by the open casket and view the lifeless body of someone I did not know. I am very aware that only because of the grace of God, that was not me in that casket. I am thankful we went so that Beth could spend a few minutes with the mother, for that is part of her ministry. We have gone to countless viewings, wakes and services so that she could bring comfort to the grieving spouse, parent or friend. No one enjoys going to these things, but love and compassion dictate paying one's respect to and providing comfort for those who are grieving.
Sorry to write such a morose blog, but due to the circumstances that resulted in the passing of the woman, it had an unexpected impact on me. Every once in awhile something arises that takes me back to the ordeal I went through last fall. Whether a physical or mental limitation I encounter or having to deal with a situation that very well could have been me; these things keep me humble and eternally thankful for God's mercy, my wife's enduring love, the support of so many friends and most of all - the prayers of YOU, my very special and beloved spiritual family. Thank you!
I hope you know you are hidden deep within our hearts.
Mortality is somber. I think it wisdom to recognize just how frail life can be. After it has been considered, then it is good to ponder the love of the Father who grants us each new day...and why...so we, the frail, can love Him and bring honor and glorify Him with each breath given to us. Good piece brother - PapaBear
Thank you Kirk for the blog, for sharing these thoughts.
Seen through the lens of your experience, and Beth's, last autumn, I can't quite imagine the kind of deep and mixed feelings these moments must dredge up.
I searched for the words to come close to describing that ... and ended up with the words in your title: there but for the grace of God. I am glad and thankful, for you both, that God saw you through your illness and brought you back from that ICU.
Thank you Lord!
God bless you both: my prayers are that he would keep you two safe, well, and provided for!