The year 2019 has been an unusual one for my family and I.  It began with all good intentions and it has shaped up to be an odd sort of slow torture.  In it, however, I have remembered how much praying can do for you and letting go can be the best alternative to holding onto everything and hoping things might work out. 

My father was going into the hospital in January for a simple hip replacement surgery.  It has turned out to be anything but simple.  Short story long – it got infected and he has had 4 subsequent surgeries to try and fix the damage from the first one.  It has been a nightmare for him and for my siblings who have been running back and forth from hospitals and rehab clinics for months while he recovered.  And in the middle of all of this, he had a stroke.  Thankfully the angels that have been missing during this whole nightmare happened to be there that day and it happened to him right in front of his PT in the hospital so she was able to get the code in and get him into surgery right away and get the clot out.  I flew on a plane for the first time in 9 years the next day and walked into his hospital room to see him.  He was in and out of consciousness while I was there so I sat next to him and held his hand and prayed for him.  It was all that I could do; there was nothing that could be said or done.  In these moments you can only hope that putting it in God’s hands will be enough.  And it was. There have been no effects on him from the stroke at all and that is the biggest miracle in all of this. 

He worked very hard in rehab and was able to return home for 3 months to recover but of course, there was always going to be another surgery to come.  When he was healthy enough, they would need to put a new hip in again to replace the temporary solution that he had for 5 months. That would happen at the beginning of August.  As of this writing, he left the hospital and returned to rehab to recover and the prognosis is good. We will travel to visit him at the end of the summer and my sons can see their Grandpa again, something that we were not sure would happen after 8 long months.  Prayer was not all that saved him of course.  Doctors and therapists helped as well.  But in the moments of doubt, sitting in silence saying a silent prayer was the most effective medicine I could prescribe.

At the same time all of this was happening, I was having a crisis of faith with my job.  For 3 years I worked at the Power Company in Newark and while there have been positive times, it was a mostly negative experience.  In the past year I was told I was not good enough, blamed for things that were not fault, and looked down upon by people who before claimed to be my supporters and friends.   For some people, power corrupts and in this instance, it had.  Not a day passed without losing a part of my soul and it was hard to be positive that this would ever get better.  Every day I had the dreads.  That feeling you have when you feel like there is no hope.  At times I didn’t know what to do.  So I decided to pray.  I asked for guidance and confidence and hope.  Eventually, it helped.  I decided to forgive those people who hurt me to make themselves feel better.  I worked hard on myself to remember I was better than this.  I found the people who would help me find a way out of the darkness.  And I got out.  I found something new and while it is not perfect by any means, it was steps to new directions and a way to get out of the negative and into the positive again. 

Praying can be a funny thing.  When I told my son I was praying one night, he asked me how.  So I told him it is different for everyone.  I told him I close my eyes and think about what I need to do and ask for the help and guidance to do it.  He said it was like a wish, like in Aladdin.  He sat down next to me and said he was going to pray too.  I asked him what he was going to pray for and he said to learn how to be a good daddy.  I smiled and told him that’s what I have been praying for too.