While visiting my father in the critical care unit of the hospital recently, I stood by his side when the doctor said the words that every family fears: We are unsure of the outcome if you decide to have surgery. But if you don't, it could prove devastating also.
My dad reached for my hand and held it, carefully digesting the doctor's diagnosis. When she left the room he said, "I don't even feel sick." That's been my father. A man who had a heart attack and didn't even know it. A man who claimed that he never felt much pain. A man who would put others needs before his own, and not really let you know what was going on behind those amazing green eyes.
I excused myself for a few moments, and quietly fell to pieces in a restroom down the hallway. Then I gathered my courage, called my brother, and kept a stiff upper lip while I spent the rest of the day with Dad. A little later I left the room again, headed for the small hospital chapel. A room to reflect in. A room for prayer and God's presence.
Two candles were lit on a small altar. A huge, old Bible sat opened. Several rows of wooden pews stood closely together and the lights were low. The smell of candle wax permeated the air; a kind-of nostalgic, comforting scent, bringing me back to the many Sunday's I attended church with my father.
I closed my eyes and spoke quietly in my heart to my Heavenly Father. I don't know if the words made sense, but the Holy Spirit knew. For a calm descended over me, and loving arms wrapped about me. Though I had thought I couldn't go on earlier that day, I stood and walked from the room to face whatever outcome my father's surgery would bring that evening.