Friday morning, I received a text from my oldest daughter saying that her husband was at urgent care for whatever was ailing him for the past week. He thought it was just the flu and could let it run its course, but when he missed Thanksgiving with the family because he was not getting better, my daughter insisted he go to the clinic.

I was happy about the text, knowing a doctor was seeing him, that is until I read it;

“He’s getting transferred to the ER because his vitals and sugar levels are so high.”

And within minutes we were heading to the hospital to be with our kids.

After several tests and consultations, the ER staff decided he needed to be flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, where they could better treat him. The prognosis was not great. They discovered he had a blood infection and he needed to have emergency surgery. They also informed us that had he waited even one more day to see a doctor; we could have lost him.

It’s strange how a few hundred miles can feel like the other side of the world when one of the pillars of your family has been knocked flat on his back.

Thoughts and prayers have gotten a bad rap lately. I understand that with everything going on in the world lately, many feel instead of offering thoughts and prayers, we must act. But sending thoughts and prayers to anyone going through a crisis is one of the most powerful forms of action we can offer. By sending thoughts and prayers, we are not retreating from reality, but we are reacting to it and offering support, kindness, and empathy.

I honestly do not know what I would have done without the thoughts and prayers of others during this time.

Thoughts and Prayers have given me the strength to stand before my grandchildren, who are now staying with me until their parents can return and reassure them that their Dad may be sick right now, but there are doctors and nurses who are doing everything within their power to help him get better.

Thoughts and Prayers from those who have known what is going on have helped me remember that while I am a fixer, this task is beyond anything I can do and I must rely on the One who created us and to rest in Him as He takes on this battle.

Thoughts and Prayers have comforted me when I am struggling with the fact that I can’t be by my daughter’s and son’s side and that the best thing I can do for them is pray and take care of their children in their absence.

Thoughts and Prayers get my family through the sleepless nights and the long days of waiting when one day turns into another. We learn that, when we feel like we can’t make it another day, we can take it one minute at a time because we are not alone in this fight.

And Thoughts and Prayers help us give grace when we speak or respond with sharp tones or attitudes because we know each of us is working through the overwhelming reality that we were too close in losing someone who means the world to us.

My family and I have felt the thoughts and prayers from people all over the world. Many we have never, nor will we ever meet, but they have carried us during some of the most difficult fear-filled days we have ever felt.

And we continue to covet your thoughts and prayers.

We are not out of the woods yet, although we can see the light in the distance. At this writing, my son-in-law is scheduled for a second surgery to determine if the infection is gone and they can begin to plan his trip home. Even that will take a few days before he is cleared to travel home. But we are hopeful, and we are grateful to so many who have lifted us up, offered to help at any time of the day or night and checked in with us.

So the next time someone sends their thoughts and prayers to you or your family, take a moment and feel the love that comes along with their words. Those words can help carry you through some of the darkest days you may walk through.

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