Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lord, Have Mercy

I'd solicit your prayers for a couple of situations that have come close to our family in recent days. . .


Our neighbors across the street are a young couple (well, younger than us), members of our Christian community. Jen takes a bit of pride in, years ago, having played something of a 'matchmaker' role for them. They have four children, three girls and a boy, ranging in age from 11 down to 5, for whom 6F has been a frequent babysitter. The husband/father (call him Al) is 36. I've known both him and his wife since their college days.

Last Wednesday, Al had a stroke. When he was very young (maybe four, or something like that), he had a brain tumor. It was treated agressively, with radiation, and probably some other stuff, and he never had any kind of recurrence. But the radiation and other agressive stuff that was done three decades ago, caused that part of his brain to 'age' more rapidly. Whatever the case, 36 is terribly young to be having a stroke. The immediate effects are paralysis of his left side, and significant difficulty speaking. His prognosis for survival is excellent, but it remains to be seen how much function he regains, and how long it takes.

Which, of course, leaves all sorts of unanswered questions for the future, as to what their life will be like, how they'll pay their bills, what will be the effect on their kids, etc, etc etc. . . Needless to say, it's a pretty freaky time for them. Al's wife hasn't had a 'real job' (ie, outside the home, for pay) in many years, and suddenly she's looking at having to do that again (and you may have noticed, all talk of recovery aside, the economy is still running somewhere short of 'robust')

It's been good to see our community rallying to their support. Another young family (with eight kids of their own) (no, not us; does it freak you out that there's more than one?) has taken their kids in indefinitely, so Al's wife can be with him in the hospital. And folks are putting together a meal schedule for them, so they can come home without the immediate pressure of putting food on the table.

Anyway, if you all could lift them up in your prayers, they can surely use them. . .


My youngest brother and his wife live in Tucson, Arizona. They met when they were both in college in Montana (Jen and I, and 7M, who was a newborn at the time, went to their wedding in Missoula - in the church that was used in filming A River Runs Through It). After graduation, they moved to Tucson, where his wife's family lives. My sister-in-law is an elementary school teacher.

My brother has always enjoyed telling the story about the time he stopped at the vacuum-cleaner store to pick up some bags for their vac, only to encounter Paul McCartney picking up his own vac from the repair counter (the McCartneys had a ranch outside Tucson; I've always gotten a kick from the idea of Paul McCartney picking up his own vaccum cleaner from the repair shop, and not just sending someone to pick it up for him) (or, for that matter, that Paul McCartney gets his vacuum cleaner repaired, instead of just pitching it and getting a new one).

Last Saturday morning, my SIL was out doing some shopping at a shopping center near their home. Suddenly, from the other side of the shopping center, shots rang out, and everything was thrown into confusion. In a matter of minutes, med-evac helicopters were taking victims to the hospital. Yeah, she was there.

She's OK; at least in a physical sense. But it has shaken her terribly. The 9-year-old girl who was killed attended a school near their house, which their nephew also attends. The 'degrees of connection' of the tragedy spread out all over their neighborhood.

I cannot fathom what could possibly motivate someone to kill a 9-year-old girl to make some kind of twisted political statement. I have my own political opinions, some of them quite firmly held, but I cannot imagine taking a gun to shoot up a shopping center in the hopes of killing my political 'adversaries'. This ain't freakin' Nazi Germany. . .

The victims and their families need our prayers; and Rep. Giffords, and the other wounded, for their recovery. Quite apart from their status as public servants, or members of one or the other political party, these are nonetheless human beings, with families and loved ones of their own. And please pray for the people of Tucson, including my SIL, who didn't ask for this to happen in their back yard, and are, as you might imagine, pretty deeply shaken by it.


Oh Lord, have mercy. . .


  1. So sorry about your neighbors' and a prayer has been said for strength and hope in their situation.

    I can only imagine how torn up your SIL must feel, being on the scene like that. I am so deeply saddened for the families, esp. the parents of that little girl. And the fact that she was born on 9/11 just adds to the sadness of the situation our country has found itself in, with people going on rampages at an increasing rate.

    It angers me that it's easier to buy a gun than get a job at McDonald's. Ridiculous.

  2. Oh, my...

    As the daughter of a man who suffered a severe stroke at a young age, my heart goes out to your neighbor and his family. So many prayers for them and the medical professionals they'll be working with.

    Many prayers, too, to your SIL. My heart aches just from hearing the stories of the survivors or from their families, so I can't even imagine how your SIL is coping. I pray she finds peace.

  3. Cocotte - It is a little ridiculous that a guy who got kicked out of JC 'cuz he was 'dangerous to himself and others', could get his hands on a gun quite that easily, isn't it?

    Xavier - Thanks, my friend.

    faDKoG - Thank you for your support. Have you ever blogged about your dad's stroke, and its effect on your family?

    My SIL seems to be doing OK, but it's a definite 'pulling-together' time for her, her neighbors, and pretty much everybody in Tucson. . .

  4. As a raised atheist, I have always wondered how is it that God would always be given credit for good things that happen: cured cancer, recovery from an accident, in this case I truly hope recovery from the stroke. Yet isn't he the one who sent that stroke in the first place?

  5. Hey, Anon, thanks for stopping by. . .

    Of course, you raise a good question, one that I've asked myself. And there's rich and lengthy conversation to be had over all the aspects of it - WAY too lengthy to fully engage in comment-space.

    By way of a preliminary response, can I say that, for a Christian, at least, it all starts with knowing God, on something like a personal level. With that as a foundation, things start to make more sense. At least, that's been my experience. . .

    But if you really want to hash it over a bit, why don't you email me thru my profile, and we can discuss. . .

    Thanks again. . .

  6. lord have mercy indeed...

    prayers for all involved.

  7. Prayers for Al's family as well as your brother's family.

    Any prognosis yet on Al's recovery?

  8. Thanks, FTN (and hey, good to see you around these parts again!)

    It's coming up on two weeks, and he still can't use his left arm/leg; he can speak better than at first, but it's still pretty difficult for him. He's starting on a four-week course of rehab, so we'll have a better idea of where things stand after that. . .