Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prayer request

I met my friend B.'s mother once, last December 31, when she was in a local hospital recovering from surgery. Although she had lived in the Northeast for most of her life, she remained a real Southern belle, with her long blonde hair and delicate features, and especially her exceedingly gracious manner.

It wasn't surprising to me, seeing her there in her weakened state, that she should seem subdued. Yet, there was something languid and delicate in her manner that almost made me forget that I was in a hospital room. It was sort of like meeting one of Tennessee Williams' faded beauty queens, except that instead of being obsessed with past glories, she was intent on being  present — giving her full attention to her guests, and treating them with unaffected, childlike sweetness. She made no complaints about the IV in her arm, nor did she mention the pain she must have been feeling only a day after going under the knife.

Before I arrived, I had thought I was doing something nice for B.'s mother by visiting her in the hospital. But as I stood at her bedside, it was clear that it was the other way around. She was giving me the gift of her presence. I left the room convinced she was a saint.

Yesterday, B. called me, sounding the saddest that I had ever heard him. He told me his mother had been put on a ventilator the night before last, after she suddenly stopped breathing on her own. The last I heard, he was flying cross-country in hope of seeing his mother once more before she dies. Please pray for B., his mother, and all his family.