The Paint of our Heart

When you open a fresh can of paint it is clean and ready to beautify. If you have completely cleaned up all the dust and debris, your paint remains just as it was prior to opening the can. The more you paint the beauty continues to shows it face. It’s when our brush picks up some dust or dirt and we dip it back into the can of paint that the paint begins to change. If we forget and leave the top off for a period of time a film can form which creates small lumps in the paint can. Before long you notice something on the wall that you need to remove or even worse, it is not found until the paint is dry. What happen? It started out so perfect.

How we handle our fresh can of paint is the same as how we handle the emotional side of our heart. It starts out so perfect with nothing but love. But then we allow it to become contaminated. It’s never the heart itself, but it’s the surroundings, the environment, and the influences that change it into something different than how it began. If we put the cover back on the paint, debris cannot enter. If we protect our hearts or the heart of a loved one, we keep it clean.

The heart just like a fresh can of paint requires proper handling. We need to be aware of what we put into it or it’s beauty and love will change or even disappear completely. When this happens it takes some hard work to restore it. But just like a can of paint, once it is contaminated, it never returns back to it’s original state.

Breaking it Down: if we could just…

If we would allow ourselves to step outside our current life, dropping for a moment our inner thoughts, forgetting what we have been taught in our schools, our homes and step back from any religious beliefs we have, opening our mind to all we see, what would we like the world to be like?

With everything that is happening around this world, many times in the name of God, or some god, or Allah, or in the name of progressive evolution, one should wonder why. Why does man take something so simple to grasp, add his desires and then drive his agenda?  What is it that makes man’s desire to do evil, to hate, to murder?

If you are a Christian, you say you believe in God. Why do those that kill in the name of this belief, kill at all, when to be a Christian you are to love one another.

If you a Muslim, you say you believe in God. Why do those that kill in the name of this belief, kill at all, when to be a Muslim you are to love one another.

If you acknowledge that God exist, then you should show love to everyone.

What makes man behave as he does? What makes humans make up their own rules just to satisfy man’s own desires?

One of the most basic needs in life is to be loved by a mother or father, a brother or sister, a son or a daughter, a friend or a foe. Yes, even our enemy. If we loved our enemies and we were loved by our enemies, we would no longer have enemies. It makes no difference where in this world you live or what your beliefs are. Love enables each of us to grasp our desired happiness and defeat evil, to stop doing evil, to stop being evil.

Coming back full circle, we step back into our world realizing that love is drastically missing in so many places. We recognize that some force is driving man away from this simple principle of life. Is it intellect and a belief man has evolved and that some levels of man are greater than others? Is it the man-made rules in some religious belief that pits one against another? Is it a form of arrogance, conceit, pride or superiority that separates one from another? Is it aggressiveness versus laziness? Is it an evil force driving the wedge of hate and deceit into our lives?

This is a question we should ask ourselves?

To be loved one must show love remembering that real love is unconditional and real love expects nothing in return. If your religious belief, which includes all religions, (i.e. Christian, Muslim/Islam, Atheist, Buddhism, etc.) includes evil, hate, murder, then maybe you should rethink your religious belief and take a stand for “Love your neighbor” and bring this world back to what it was designed to be from the beginning.

31 – Searcing for Answers – The Awakening

Ann had been home for two days and Tom had been off the drugs that had kept him in his induced coma and everyone was on edge, like sitting on pins and needles waiting for the first sign that he was going to wake up. Ann had spent every day going back to the hospital in spite of her need of rest to be with Tom. Sarah was generally with Ann and Tom’s mom and dad, Jill and Randy, were always close by. Joe would come and go throughout the day and into the evening. June would stop in a couple times a day to check up on Sarah and to see how Tom was doing and to support Ann as she was still struggling to sleep and was having nightmares about the accident.

Everyone including the doctors was beginning to worry about Tom. At one point about 24 hours after they removed the drugs that induced the coma from Tom, he opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. He held them open for several minutes but then he just slipped back into his comatose state. He had been restless and the doctors could tell he was in a lot of pain so they administered some pain medication to help Tom relax which appeared to work. However, this also slowed the waking up process that was so important. Joe was talking to the doctor and the nurses down at the nurse’s station as he was searching for anything that could help bring Tom around. If you know anything that Tom likes or something that could possibly stimulate his mind might work, replied the doctor. I have seen times when just having a pastor praying next to someone will snap someone back, or talking to him about things that he really enjoyed to do. But I don’t know what is really important to Tom so maybe you could think of something. After a little thought Joe told the doctor that one of Tom’s favorite things to do was to build a bonfire out in the woods. He always likes when I play my guitar and sing while we all sit next to the fire. He always told me how much he enjoyed it and how it relaxed him. Yes, something like that just might help replied the nurse behind the desk but I don’t think we can take him to the woods. But some good music around here would be nice.

Joe walked away and headed back to the waiting room and found Ann drinking a cup of coffee. After explaining what the doctor and nurse told him he stood up and told her he was going to get his guitar and try it. Before long he was sitting in Tom’s room playing softly and quietly singing a couple songs that Tom always liked to hear. Everyone left them alone in hopes that this just might do the trick and Tom might wake up. After about an hour had passed and several songs had been sung, Joe leaned back in his chair and quietly said a prayer. Dear God, I am not sure why this had to happen, I am really new at this but I know you can hear me. Please help me help Tom. I can’t do this by myself. I need your help. Show me what to do next. Please help me. Please wake Tom up and heal his body and be with Ann in this time as she waits for Tom and the issue of her pregnancy. She loves Tom and Tom loves her and they need to be together. Thanks in advance for all your help and for having such patience with me.

Joe sit up in his chair and was about to walk out of Tom’s room when he had an idea. He hurried down to the waiting room but it was empty so he headed outside and found Sarah and Ann sitting on a bench just staring at the tree and the baby birds in the nest above them as the mother bird would fly out and find food and then bring it back and feed them. He could hear them talking as he was approaching from the back. Joe stopped giving them privacy he sensed they needed. Ann this is why I believe you need to be happy about the pregnancy and just wrap your arms around being a mom. When two people fall in love and share together what you and Tom shared, this can be the result which is beautiful. You maybe didn’t plan it to happen, or even want it to happen right now, but it is still real, this baby is real, it is alive, its little heart is beating, it is in your body soaking up your love and it is part of you and Tom now. This baby needs to have your love, the same love you have for Tom. This baby became a living part of both of you the moment it was conceived. I know you didn’t plan it to happened, but it did. I know Sarah, but it is such a big step and I don’t even know if Tom will be happy about it and we are not married and I am still very young and… Yes Ann you are but you have to wait until Tom is out of the woods and recovering. He needs you and you need to wait until you both have a chance to talk about it. I will Sarah.

Joe walked up to them once he knew that had stopped their conversation and told them his idea. They both thought that if anything would work that just might be it. Joe headed back to his car and fired out a text message to every one of their friends and set a time of 7:00pm so everyone would be able to make it. He walked back in to the hospital and told the nurse what he had planned and she told him to have everyone as quiet as possible but she was sure it would be alright. The rest of the morning and the afternoon seemed to drag with no response from Tom. He was just lying still in his bed and only on occasion would he move his eyes just a little. No one knew what he was going though, what his mind was thinking if anything. All they knew was they wanted him to wake up.

Around 7:00pm Joe made his way from the waiting room with Ann and Sarah back down to Tom’s room. After a few minutes had passed Randy and Mary walked in together and before long Pet and Nancy, Cal and Connie and Carol and Paul were all standing around Tom’s bed. Paul had brought his laptop with him and he set it on the rolling bed table, fired it up and pushed it around so Tom would be looking at it. He turned up the volume and the soft sound of a crackling fire filled the room. Carol reached over and took Paul’s hand and leaned her head on his shoulder thinking where did this man come from? After a few minute of small talk, Joe picked up his guitar and Sarah and Ann walked up next to him and he started to play one of Tom’s favorite songs. Ann and Sarah started out singing and harmonized with a sound that quietly echoed down the hall putting smiles on everyone that could hear them. Before long everyone joined in and the whole group was singing just like they did at the campfire. The nurses and doctors stopped what they were doing long enough to listen, hearing the sound of love pouring out of the room. Other patients were listening and some who knew the songs joined in as the gang continued to sing. Randy and Jill had arrived and could hear them as they approached Tom’s room and were joined by Greg and Sandy. Before long even Sarah’s mom and dad, June and Carl, were standing outside the door of Tom’s room. Pastor Dan was in the hospital visiting one of the other people from the church that had surgery a couple days earlier when he heard the sound and made his way towards Tom’s room. As they all sang and Pastor Dan stood praying outside the door Tom unexpectedly opened his eyes. He turned his head toward the voice of Ann and Sarah and squeezed out the best smile he could. Then Ann who had been holding Tom’s hand bent over giving him a kiss and said; welcome back my love. As soon as Jill and Randy realized what had just happened they made their way to Tom’s bedside with tears rolling down their cheeks. Joe keep playing softly as the gang continued to sing and hum along. Pastor Dan quickly headed to the nurses station and told them that Tom was awake. Jumping to their feet they quickly went to check Tom’s vitals. One of the nurses paged the doctor on duty to inform him to come to Tom room.

After a few minutes had passed, the doctor arrive and the nurses requested everyone to leave for a few minutes except for Tom’s parents so they could give Tom a through checkup. They all made their way to the waiting room. It wasn’t long and Pastor Dan asked Sarah and Joe if he could lead them all in a prayer of thanks. Everyone stopped in their tracks as Pastor Dan prayed a prayer of thanks that would stick in their minds for a long time. As soon as Pastor Dan said amen, Ann headed towards the door. She couldn’t stand being away from Tom, so she told Sarah she was going back down to be with Tom and his parents. As soon as she arrived at the door Jill grabbed her by the hand, pulled her close and through her arms around her and hugged her as the tears flowed down the cheeks of both of them. The emotions were flowing so strong in Tom’s room that even the nurses had tears in their eyes.

The nurses and doctor had finished checking Tom over and told Jill, Randy and Ann that they could stay for a little while but they needed to let Tom rest as much as possible. Tom looked over at Ann and with a slight movement of his fingers they could tell he wanted to have her close. Ann walked over and taking hold of his hand she kissed him again. Tom tried to speak but it was hard. They had just removed the tube they had placed in his throat and things weren’t working very well but he managed to say; are you alright? Yes you craze guy, replied Ann. You are the one we are all worried about. With that Tom smiled, closed his eyes and appeared to slip back into a sleep. Everyone stood still as concern welled up inside each of them waiting for Tom to open his eyes again. Ann looked at the nurse and she tried to reassure them this is expected. A few minutes later he opened his eyes again and Ann was still standing holding his hand and as he looked to the other side he could see his mom holding the other with his dad standing alongside with his hand resting on his leg. Just than Joe and Sarah walked back in. Tom tilted his head and looking straight at them and smiled his special grin that let them know everything was going to be alright. Joe walked over to the bed saying; you had us all pretty worried. Sarah put her arm around Ann and then Tom closed his eyes and slipped back into a much needed sleep. The nurse that was staying in the room told them that it would be better if they could let him sleep for a while and that she would be staying with him and would let them know if there was any change.

The five of them made their way out the door and down the hall towards the waiting room. They could hear all the voices of cheer and laughter coming from inside as they opened the door to join them. Several of Tom’s friends still had pretty red eyes as they updated them on Tom’s condition. Jill spoke up telling everyone that the doctor said that because when he woke-up and appeared to recognized everyone, that it was a great sign and over the next 24 hours they would have a much better idea if there are any issues with this memory. The songs you sang were what he needed to hear. You guys are the greatest. Tom is blessed to have such wonderful friends that care so much for him.

Over the next fifteen minutes most of Tom’s friends made their way towards the parking lot and headed out. Joe and Sarah and all the parents lingered behind along with Pastor Dan. After a few minutes had passed Jill spoke up telling Pastor Dan how much she appreciated his prayers. I’m not even sure how you know Tom. I haven’t had a chance to even ask. But I am really happy you have been here for him. Ann smiled at Jill and told her that was a total other story and she would tell her all about it when they had some time. Pastor Dan just smiled his peaceful smile. That would be great Ann, replied Jill. Ann smiled saying I think we will need Sarah and Joe along so they can fill in between the lines. Let’s just say the last few weeks have been interesting to say the least.

Joe picked up his guitar and Sarah took hold of his hand and told Randy and Jill they would be back in the morning but to call if there was any new news. June and Carl and Greg and Sandy were making their way towards the door of the waiting room when Greg stopped long enough to pitch his keys to Randy and said I am riding home with Sandy. The front door will be unlocked. Come back anytime you want. Pastor Dan looked at Randy and Jill and told them he would check in on them tomorrow and he would keep all of them in his prayers. He handed them a card with his number on it and said call me anytime if I can help. Outside Joe and Sarah were standing close, embraced in a kiss when Sarah’s mom and dad walked out. Joe looked at Greg and Sandy and could only smile. That’s alright Joe we love her too, offered up Greg. They all laughed a little as Sarah looked up at Joe and smiled saying; I think I will ride home with mom and dad so you can get home and get some sleep. Joe really wanted to take Sarah home but his mind was also on Tom so he quickly agreed. Sarah gave Joe one last goodnight kiss as her parents were making their way to their car and turned and ran to catch up with them. You really like this guy don’t you Sarah? Oh mom replied Sarah as the smile gave it all away.

Randy walked over to Jill and put his arms arm her pulling her close. It was only a few moments when they both just slid down in a chair. They looked at each other and smiled. Randy we are so lucky our son is going to be alright. Look at all the great friends he has that care so very much for him. I can see just how much Ann is in love with him and I could see it in his eyes as he looked at her when he first woke up. Both Randy and Jill leaned their head on the back of their chairs, closed their eyes and enjoyed the moment, thankful for the peace they finally found after such a stress filled week.

“To be continued”


30 – Searching for Answers – Three Days Later

Randy and Jill had made it in from Michigan and were staying with Greg and Sandy. They would go together and sometimes split up as they made trips to the hospital to check on Tom and Ann. Ann was doing better and they thought she could be released that afternoon to go home. Tom was stabilized, the swelling around his brain had gone down and the doctors were trying to decide when to take him off the drugs that were keeping him in his coma. Joe and Sarah had spent the last two nights in their own bed’s and were finally feeling a little more rested. The morning after the accident Joe had let his boss know what had happened and asked if he could take some time off which they told him to take as long as he needed and to keep them informed about Tom. Pastor Dan had been stopping by the hospital every day and had told Sarah that she should take as much time as she needed and if she wanted to come in she should feel ok to just leave when ever she felt she needed too.

Greg, Sandy, Randy and Jill arrived at the hospital together around 9:00am. After getting an update from the nurses they stopped in to see Ann and told her the news that it looked like they might release her that afternoon if nothing changed and that they were making plans to take Tom off the drugs that were keeping him asleep. Ann’s excitement could be seen on her face as she asked did they make any comments about how he will react once he wakes up? Not much of anything outside of normal doctor talk but they are very optimistic that he will be ok. They did comment that the swelling has gone down rather quickly which is good. We just have to wait and see after he wakes up. We will know much more then. Randy and Jill left Ann’s room and made their way down to the ICU to check in on Tom and were met by Doctor Conrad coming out of Tom’s room. Good morning guys replied Dr. Conrad. We just took Tom off the drugs we were using to keep him sedated and we expect he will wake up in a few hours. If it is possible that you guys could stay with him it would be good for Tom should he wake up and see you with him. We will be checking him frequently but if you should notice any movement or change please let us know as soon as you see it. Any movement, if he opens his eyes or try’s to speak or anything let us know. We don’t know what Tom will be like but we need to allow him to wake up so we can better see his progress of recovery. We don’t anticipate any long lasting issues with his brain, but we won’t know until he comes around and wakes up and we give him a little time to stabilize. We expect he could be hurting quite a little because we need him awake so we are also holding off on other pain medication until he wakes up. Thanks for everything you are doing Doctor, replied Randy. We will definitely stay by his side and we will let you know if we see any change. The tears began to fill Jill’s eyes as she walked over to Tom’s bed and took hold of his hand. Tom we love you so much. Dear God please keep him safe. Randy put his arms around Jill’s shoulders and repeated he will be ok I know he will be ok.

After a short moment of silence, Jill looked at Randy and said you better go and tell everyone else what is happening. I think Ann needs to know that they have already taken Tom off the drugs. I will stay with Tom. Randy quickly headed back down the hall to find Greg and Sandy and stopped at Ann’s room and could see that they were with her along with Joe and Sarah who had just arrived. I have some news about Tom he announced to everyone. We just talked to the Doctor and they have taken Tom off the drugs that have kept him sleeping. They told us to expect that he would sleep for a while yet and that he very possibly could have considerable pain when he first wakes up but that this needed to be allowed so they could see the extent of his head injuries before they give him more medication for the pain. I am going back down with Jill and we are going to stay with him until he wakes up. Joe asked Randy if he could come and join them. Yes Joe, come down whenever you want. Sarah, you should come to if you want and we can keep Ann updated on Tom’s progress. Looking over at Greg and Sandy he added you guy come down anytime you want. You’ve been the greatest friends we could ever ask for then added; they said they have no idea how long it will take for Tom to wake up. We just have to wait.

Joe and Sarah joined Randy as they made their way down to Tom’s ICU room. They went in and joined Jill standing around Tom’s bed hoping and praying he would be alright. Joe and Sarah held each other’s hand and silently prayed that Tom would be alright. A tear ran down Sarah’s face as she looked at Tom. Jill noticed that Sarah was struggling a little and asked her to come and sit with her for a while. Sarah made her way around the bed and sat down with Tom’s mom and leaned her head on her shoulder. I know this is really rough on you but is there something else that’s bothering you Sarah, inquired Jill. Is there anything I can do to help? Oh it’s nothing. I just know how much Ann loves Tom and he just has to be ok. Ann told me she… Sarah stopped herself in the middle of the comment and quickly added that Ann just wants to get out and have everything normal again. She needs Tom to be ok. It wasn’t long and Greg and Sandy opened the door to check on Tom and Sarah took advantage of Ann being alone and told everyone that she was going back to be with Ann for a while.

As Sarah walked into Ann’s room she could see the tears in her eyes. Approaching the bed Sarah placing her hand on Ann’s arm and wiping a small tear from her own eye and continued by saying, I want to help you Ann but I don’t know what to do other than pray for you and Tom. Ann reached out and took Sarah’s hand and said; I have to find out. I agree Ann, but how will we do that. Just then the nurse walked in to check on Ann. I got an idea, commented Sarah. Nurse Connie, can we ask you a question. Sure, I will do my best to answer it if at all possible. Well it’s really personal but Ann has a feeling she just might be pregnant and she needs to know for sure. Is there any way she could find out? I can check her charts and see if anyone ran any test that would show this and if not we could run one. Ann quickly spoke up asking; could you please check as soon as possible? I really need to find out and I don’t want to tell my parents anything yet. I need to know what I am going to do if I am pregnant before I talk to anyone else. Sarah looked at Ann with an astonished look of confusion but a look of compassion still the same. Let me go and check your paperwork and I will be back as soon as possible. Sarah’s mind was running in overdrive but neither of them said a word as they waited for Nurse Connie to return. It was only a couple minutes and she walked back into the room with a smile on her face. Ann, your premonition is correct. According to your chart it does show that you are going to have a baby. Do you have any idea how far along you are? It can only be a few weeks answered Ann as her face filled with tears. Sarah took hold of her hand and leaned over to give her a gentle hug. The nurse could see they needed a little time alone so she quietly slipped out the door saying, I’ll come back in a few minutes. What am I going to do Sarah? It only happened once and I thought we were more than careful. I love Tom but I don’t even know if he… Ann’s mind slid into deep thought asking subconscious questions faster than any one of them could be answered. Sarah looked at Ann and said you know Tom loves you Ann and he will love the baby also. You know he loves you. But what if he doesn’t recover, what if he doesn’t remember or what if something happens and I lose him, questioned Ann? What will I do Sarah and another flood of tears rushed down her cheeks? Sarah reached over pulling a couple Kleenex from the box on Ann’s bed stand and handed them to Ann to help soak up the tears. Sarah smiled at Ann with a look of compassion and composure adding words of assurance that I think we need to take this a step at a time Ann. We need to see how Tom is after he regains consciousness. I don’t know if I am ready for this Sarah? I am so scared. Ann, I understand right now you don’t feel like you are ready for all this. But together we will get ready. I will always be here for you. You are strong and if you’re pregnant it must have been meant to be. Just then the door opened and Greg and Sandy walked back into the room.

You two must be on an emotional rollercoaster right now commented Ann’s mom as she could see that they were both in tears. I’m sorry mom. I just have too many emotions going on right now. Can you tell me anymore about Tom? Only that he is still sleeping. Jill told me they would let us know of any changes. Greg leaned over, kissed Ann on the forehead and told her that everything is going to be ok. We love you and Tom. We just need to have faith that everything will be alright. I think I will go down and check to see if they can give us a time you will be able to leave. And don’t worry, after we get you home we will bring you back as many times as you want to see Tom. Greg slipped out the door and made his way to the nurse’s station. Sarah told Ann she would be back in a few minutes and she made her way towards the door.

Sarah left the room and headed towards the waiting room but took a turn to the left and headed outside to get some fresh air. Finding a bench she sat down, leaned her head back and looked up at the tree above her where she spotted a mother bird feeding its baby’s. She started to smile but then let her mind begin to wonder what Ann meant when she said she didn’t know what she was going to do. They had always been friends, they had talked about so many things over the years, but this was not a topic they ever talked about. Sarah started to wonder what she would do if this ever happened to her. How would she handle it? Then she remembered what her mom had said to her a few days ago about being human and how emotions can somethings take over and things can happen. Maybe that’s what happened to Ann and Tom? Man, I got to be there for her. Dear God give me the compassion and love I need to support Ann. Help me be there for her. Give me the words when she asks questions. Oh God just be with Ann and heal Tom so they can be together. Sarah’s thoughts began to move so fast that she leaned over and placed her head in her hands and elbows on her knees and began to sob quietly letting time escape into the sky.

Sarah heard someone approaching so she got up and decided to head back towards Ann’s room when she spotted Joe coming from the opposite direction. It appeared that Joe had taken a walk to clear his head also. As they approached each other they both could feel a sense of peace as they put their arms around each other and embraced. Joe whispered in Sarah’s ear; it’s going to be ok. Tears again watered up in Sarah’s eyes and when Joe asked her what was bothering her she started to cry even more. Let’s go get a coffee and try to relax a little Joe proposed. Ok, replied Sarah. I have something I need to tell you in strict confidence. I really need your help. I don’t think I can deal with it… Deal with what Sarah? Sarah remained quiet for a few moments as they walked back towards the hospital entrance. Let’s find a place we can sit and talk by ourselves and I will tell you.

They made their way to the cafeteria and after they each got a hot cup of coffee they found a table in the corner where they could talk by themselves. Ok tell me what is going on Sarah. Joe, Ann’s pregnant. She just found out. She told me she doesn’t know what to do and she is so worried about Tom and I think she is thinking about… Sarah stopped and took a drink of coffee and Joe just looked at her as his mind was contemplating how he would feel if he found out that Sarah was going to have a baby. But that’s not going to happen, at least until after we are married. Joe’s mind hit warp speed as it hit him just how much he loved Sarah. Is she the one for me? Oh God you got to help me here. Sarah interrupted Joe thoughts as she finally said I think she may even be thinking about not having it. What do you mean Sarah? I am not sure Joe. I only know I need to be there for Ann but I don’t believe in abortion. What will I say if this is what she is thinking about? Just then Pastor Dan walked in and could see them sitting in the corner. After he got a coffee he walked over and asked if he could join them. For sure Pastor, have a seat. You two look like you have a lot on your mind. Oh Pastor, you have no idea replied Sarah.

“To be continued”


29 – Searching for Answers – A Long Night Waiting

Greg and Sandy went down to Ann’s room just to check in again on their daughter. If she was awake they wanting to ask how she was doing and not just relying on what the doctors and nurses told them. It wasn’t that they didn’t trust them. They were looking for the comfort of hearing their daughter tell them it was going to be ok. Just as they were about to open the door a nurse walked out so they asked her for an update. Her vitals are good and she is in a nice sleep right now. Her body has been through a lot tonight and we have given her a light sedative which seems to be doing the trick. You might want to be quiet or even consider going home and coming back in the morning. Sleep is the best thing for her right now. They went in and could see she was sleeping so they quietly left and went back to the waiting room. Sarah looking up asked how she was doing and after a brief update they told Sarah that they were going back home and would be back early morning. Are you sure you want to stay Sarah? They told us that Ann would probably sleep all night now. Yes, I want to stay with Joe just in case we should get some news about Tom’s condition. I will call you if I think something is changing with either of them. Call me anytime day or night Sarah. We will, replied Joe and Sarah in unison. Ann’s mom gave a small waved goodbye as they left the room and headed down the hallway towards the parking lot. Joe got up and pulled two chairs and foot stools together. Joe looked at Sarah and told her he would be right back. He headed out to the nurses desk and returned in a couple of minutes with a couple of pillows and blankets. They snuggled up to each other but neither of them could fall asleep. After a few minutes passed Joe kissed Sarah on the forehead and she rolled her head up and returned the kiss only it was not on the forehead. After a short embrace they just looked at each other saying nothing. The exchange of smiles of concern answered the question that each was thinking about. Leaning back on their pillows they closed their eyes and a few minutes later they both drifted off into a deeply needed sleep that neither believed they would get that night.

Joe’s eyes popped open when he heard the door open. Sarah rolled over to see Ann’s mom walk in. Sorry to wake you guys but I couldn’t sleep so I decided to come back to the hospital. Were you two able to get much sleep at all? Sarah looked at the clock to see it was 6:15am. I guess we must have got some. Joe got up and walked to the window and stretched a little getting the kinks out then told Sarah he was going to check on Tom and Ann and would be back in a few minutes.

The door quietly closed behind Joe as he made his way down the hall towards the nurse’s station. The night nurse that was still on duty looked up and smiled then added you must be a pretty great friend to hang here all night. Can you give me an update on Tom and Ann, replied Joe? Well the best thing is Tom is resting and his vitals are stabilizing. Time is what he needs right now. Every hour he is stable is great progress and gives his body time to heal. It was pretty iffy last night when they brought him in. He was hurt pretty bad as you know. They lost him twice; once in the ambulance and once in the emergency room. It was only for a few moments but, that is always pretty stressful. Thank goodness we have some of the greatest paramedics and doctors working for us. They will keep him sedated until the swelling around his brain goes down and then only time will tell the final outcome. I can’t tell you more than that. Do you know when his parent’s will arrive? Sometime later this morning unless they have flight issues responded Joe. I promised them I would call them with an update before they boarded their airplane. Ann is doing pretty good the nurse added. She slept most of the night which is what she needed.  Joe’s mind was taking in everything the nurse had told him and as he started to turn to walk back to the waiting room he stopped long enough to say thanks for the update and for all that you guys are doing.

Joe reached for his cell phone and walked out the side door and dialed Tom’s Dad Randy to give him an update. Joe had not even heard the phone ring on the other end when he heard: Hi Joe, thanks for calling. How is Tom doing? They are telling us that he is resting well and that he needs this time to allow his body to heal up. Because of his head injury he has some swelling around his brain and that is why they have him in an induced coma which will keep the brain activity down until the swelling goes down. He is stable right now but it will be good when you both get here. I will call you back with any more information if anything changes. They are taking really good care of him here. Joe, what about Ann? She is doing pretty well other than a broken arm and a lot of bruises and she was able to sleep most of the night. Tom was the one that was hurt the worst. The car that hit them hit his side on the front left corner and then slide around and pushing his door in which is how he was hurt so bad. Ann appeared to have been buckled in but somehow her seatbelt was cut or just broke which allowed her to be ejected out what looked like the side window which must have been down. What the officers told us when they stopped by the hospital later last night was that she was really lucky because a pipe that was in the other car somehow flew out at impact and was lodged directly into where she would have sat. All I can say is the God was watching over them somehow. We have all been praying for them and Sarah and I will be here when you get to the hospital. Joe I can’t thank you enough. You are a great friend to Tom and we are just about to head to the airport and if anything happens call me back. I will, replied Joe. Travel safe and get here as soon as you can.

Joe headed back to the waiting room to find Sarah and Sandy drinking a coffee. I just talked to Tom’s dad. I gave them an update and they are headed to the Detroit Airport right now. Did you get an update on Ann, inquired Sarah? Yes she is just waking up and they want to check her over and then we can go in and see her. You want a coffee Joe asked Sandy? Joe smiled and said that would be great. The three of them just sat silently drinking their coffee when the nurse came in and said Ann would like to see them.

Ann’s mom got up and Sarah told her to go and that she and Joe would be along in a few minutes. Sandy smiled and headed out the door and down the hallway towards Ann’s room. As she walked in the door she could see Ann smile a little. How are you doing my beautiful daughter? I am hurting a little but they are giving me stuff to help with that replied Ann. Mom, I am so worried about Tom and the tears began to flow down her cheeks and Sandy took her hand, smiled and started to say I know and then the emotions let loose and they both cried for a while without saying anything. Sandy reached over and pulled a couple of Kleenex from the box on Ann’s bed stand offering one to Ann. Ann looked at her mom and said; Mom, I love Tom. They can’t let anything happen to him. I am so worried about him. Then Ann let her thoughts drift off into a world that had no words. Sandy just sat and held her hand. After a few minutes had passed Ann asked her mom if Sarah was still there? Yes, she and Joe stayed all night. Oh mom, I really need to talk to Sarah. Could you go and ask if she would… I will go get her right now. Mom, please just have Sarah come. I really need to talk to her. Tell Joe to give us a few minutes and then you guys come back. I really want you all here with me, I just need to see Sarah for a couple minutes.

Sandy could tell that Ann had something on her mind that she wanted to share with Sarah as she headed out the door to send Sarah in. As she walked into the waiting room she could see Sarah and Joe holding hands with their heads bowed as if they were both praying. They heard the door open and both looked up and Sarah quickly asked how Ann was doing. Well she looks a lot better this morning but she really wants to see you. Let’s go replied Joe. Well she asked if we would give her a little time with you Sarah before Joe and I come back. I can tell she has something on her mind and she really wants to talk to you Sarah about it. You better go see her Sarah. You and I will go down in a few minutes.

Sarah made her way down to Ann’s room and as she walked in she could see that Ann was crying. What’s wrong Ann. Oh Sarah, I really need to tell you something. I think I might… The tears were running so hard that all Sarah could do was hold Ann’s hand and cry with her. After a short while she looked at Sarah and said; I really need your help. What’s wrong Ann? Well….

28 – Searching for Answers – The Hospital

Joe carefully leaned over Ann’s limp body placing his ear near her mouth and nose. He could tell she was breathing but her body was twisted in several directions with one arm under her back and the other lying above her head. Joe thought he could see Ann move a little and he quickly told her to just lie still until the paramedics arrived. She was trying to open her eyes when Sarah came running back from Joe’s car with the blanket she grabbed from the back seat after she called 911. The ambulance is on its way she shouted. Sarah opened the blanket up and they covered Ann up to keep her warm. Joe looked at Sarah saying; stay with her while I go check on Tom. As Joe stood up he could hear the ambulance sirens in a distance. He carefully approached Tom who was still leaning up against the steering wheel of the demolished car. He could see that the driver’s side was caved in pushing Tom towards the center of the front seat which was twisted up like one was folding over a piece of bread. His left arm was hanging out the broken out side window with a twisted wrist that looked like it had been bent at a ninety degree angle. Joe was slowly approaching Tom when he heard someone say something in a voice that sounded unstable and it wasn’t Tom that was trying to talk. He looked to his right and sitting on the ground next to the car’s back drivers side wheel was a man he didn’t know. It was then that he noticed the other car across the road sitting upside down in the ditch. Are you ok Joe quickly asked in a concerned but commanding voice? Joe had been so pre-occupied with Tom and Ann he forgot about the other car and anyone that might have been in it. Joe quickly looked down and just as he was asking if he was ok again, the man started saying; I am so sorry, I am so sorry, I am so sorry… Hey are you ok, Joe repeated? The Ambulance pulled up next to the accident and Joe quickly returned his attention to his best friend Tom who was still leaning against the steering wheel when he heard the paramedic tell him to move to the side so he could check Tom out. The other paramedic was with Sarah checking her vitals and looking for injuries. After a few preliminary checks the paramedic working on Tom slipped a neck brace around his neck and tipped Tom back in his seat and Joe could see that he was really hurt bad. His nose was twisted to one side, blood was coming from his left ear and his eyes were covered with blood that was still coming down from his forehead where there was a gash that looked to start at his left eye and cross over to his right ear leaving his scalp with a serious opening exposing part of his skull. A second ambulance had arrived along with a fire engine from the local fire house. The Fire Chief put a call in for a third ambulance when he realized he had at least three people injured. The man that had been sitting on the ground next to Tom’s smashed up car had been moved to the step of the first ambulance and was sitting with a blanket wrapped around him slowly muttering; I am sorry over and over. One of the firemen had check out the second vehicle in the ditch and couldn’t find anyone else. Quickly approaching the ambulance he double checked asking the injured man if he had anyone with him assuming he was the drive that hit Tom and Ann. After repeated tries, the man finally said; I was alone, I am sorry, I am sorry. The fire chief called for the jaws-of-life and they carefully extracting Tom from the car and before long they had their sirens blaring as they made their way to the hospital. Hurry up we’re losing him. That call of desperation to hurry from the paramedic that was working on Tom in the back left nothing to the driver’s interpretation as to how bad Tom was hurt. They pulled into the emergency entrance and the trauma team was waiting for them. Quickly pulling Tom’s stretcher from the ambulance they rushed him inside to the emergency room. The second ambulance had loaded Ann in it and arrived at the hospital shortly after Tom’s. The trauma team was already worked on Tom trying to see the extent of his injuries. The third ambulance had arrived at the accident site and was checking over the driver of the other car. The man had no major injuries except the paramedic knew he was suffering from shock because he kept shaking and continued saying over and over; I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry. It wasn’t long and they were heading to the Hospital.

A second police car had just arrived as the ambulance with Ann in it was departing and they quickly talked to Joe and Sarah asking if they had seen anything that would help them figure out what had happened. All Joe could do was point at the car in the ditch and said that car came out of nowhere and hit Tom’s car in the side. Sir, I really need to get to the hospital Joe replied with a bit of urgency in his voice. Sarah was crying and the officer could tell he needed to let them go. The officer asked Joe if he was able to drive. Yes I am ok, replied Joe. The officer told them to go and they would come by the hospital after they finished up if they had any other questions. Drive carefully guys, replied one of the officers and we hope your friends are going to be alright. Joe and Sarah ran back to their car and quickly headed towards the hospital when Sarah’s phone rang. It was Pastor Dan calling. She quickly hit the answer button and as she was crying she just said; can you meet us at the hospital. There has been a terrible accident. Tom and Ann were broadsided. I’m on my way, I will meet you there replied Pastor Dan as he jumped from his chair, grabbed his keys and headed to his car.

It wasn’t long and Joe and Sarah ran into the emergency room and were met by a nurse. They just brought our friends here and they are hurt really bad. Where are they? Can you help us? Come on you two, slow down a little. Come over here and sit down and I will do my best to help you. The guy that came in is in emergency and they are working on him as we speak. The girl is still being checked out but looks like she is in better shape and we should know more in a little while. Just then Pastor Dan walked through the doors and the nurse looked up and smiled saying I am glad you’re here Pastor. Can you help these two while I check to see how their friends are doing? Yes, go check and please let us know any news as soon as you have some. Just then the emergency room doors opened and the driver of the other car was wheeled in. Other than a blood on his shirt from what looked like a bloody noise, he looked like he would be ok. He spotted Joe and Sarah and he quickly looked back up at the ceiling as they wheeled him past them taking him into emergency to be checked out completely.

After what seemed like hours but was really only minutes, the nurse returned and smiled saying; I have some good news. Your friend the young girl is going to be ok. What did you say her name is? Ann, Sarah quickly replied. It appears Ann has a broken arm and a pretty big bump on the head but should have a full recovery. We will know for sure by morning. What about Tom replied Joe before the nurse had a chance to say anything else. Well it is still too early to know but he is hurt pretty bad and the doctors are doing everything they can to stabilize him. We should know more in another hour or so. I will keep you updated as I learn more. When can I see Ann replied Sarah with an anxious look on her face? Another nurse behind the desk replied; I have called her parents and they are on their way. Are you family Sarah? Ann is a really good friend and we were together tonight and were following them when this all happened, replied Sarah. Well she is still pretty groggy and needs to rest and the hospital rules make us wait for the parents or family to arrive replied the first nurse. Pastor Dan looked at Joe and could see the terror on his face and the tears were flowing down Sarah’s cheeks. I would like to pray right now that God will be with the doctors and nurses and Tom and Ann as they work on them. Will you join me? Joe reached out his hand and took Sarah’s and Pastor Dan was about to complete the circle when the nurse joined in taking hold of the hand of Pastor Dan and Joe and he began to pray. Lord, please be with the Tom and Ann, be with the doctors and guide their hands as they work to put these precious bodies back together again. Lord we put them in your hands. Watch over them and give them strength and allow their bodies to heal. Why these things happen we never understand, but please work your will and keep Tom and Ann safe. Keep them under your wing and heal their bodies. Also please be with Joe and Sarah and give them strength as they support their friends through this crisis. We ask this all in Jesus name, amen. Joe looked up at Pastor Dan as the tears were starting to flow. Tom is my best friend, he was just starting to think about God and I am not sure but I don’t think he has ever accepted Jesus or God. Oh please pray that he will have time. Please pray that he will recover and have time. I will Joe, replied Pastor Dan. Sarah wiped her tears from her cheeks with her hand and put her arm around Joe. Joe pulled her close as they both just stood in shock of what happened to their friends.

Pastor Dan asked if Joe and Sarah would like to get a soda or something while they waited to hear more from the nurses. Maybe that would be good, replied Joe. They made their way to the waiting room and were sitting quietly when Ann’s parents walked in the door. Sarah jumped up and ran over to Ann’s mom Sandy, throwing her arms around her neck as the tears started to flow again. Ann’s dad Greg just stood silent and her mom looked at Sarah and asked; do you know what happened? All we know is that they were in a car accident. They told us Ann is going to be ok and we should be able to see her in a little while after they are finished checking her over completely. But Tom is pretty serious and they can’t tell us anything right now. I called Randy and Jill, Tom’s mom and dad, to let them know about the accident but they live back in Michigan so they can’t get here until late tomorrow morning. I spoke to them on the way to the hospital and promised I would call them with any details as soon as I heard them. Sarah looked over at Joe and said maybe you can tell them better than I can. Well, all I can tell you is that we had been together at a meeting at church and we were going to go to the pub to talk a little about what we had learned and on the way they were broadsided. Ann ended up on the ground outside the car and Tom had to be extracted by the jaw-of-life when the fire department arrived. It all happened so fast. Just then the nurse walked in the door and asked for Ann’s mom and dad. She wants to see you. It wasn’t long and Ann’s mom Sandy walked back in the waiting room and told Sarah that Ann want to see her and Joe. Pastor, please come too. We can only stay with her for a few minutes but she really wants to see both of you.

They walked into the area where Ann was lying on a bed in emergency and Sarah looking over at her started to cry. Ann motioned for her to come over close. Sarah took Ann’s hand, smiled and asked; how are you doing. Well I think I am doing better than Tom but not that great either replied Ann. Can you tell me any more about how Tom is? All they will tell me is that the doctors are still working on him. All I remember is looking up at him in the car and seeing the headlights of another car as it hit us. We had just told each other how much we loved each other and then boom. The next thing I remember is that I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital and I don’t remember much of that either. I am so scared and worried about Tom. Joe looked at Ann and quickly said; I will go and check again and be right back. Sarah was still holding Ann’s hand when Joe returned a couple minutes later. They tell me they are getting him stabilized. He has several broken ribs, a broken left arm and a serious head injury. He is sedated right now but what I picked up on was that they call it an induced coma so he will have time for some of the swelling to go down in and around his brain. They told me we just have to wait. Time is what’s needed. They said we should know more in the next days. Pastor Dan walked over to Ann and taking her hand he again prayed for Tom and Ann’s safe recovery. Greg and Sandy was thanking Pastor Dan just as the nurse came back in and told them they needed to let Ann rest for a while. Ann’s eyes were drifting closed so they all told Ann they would be close if she needed them as they made their way back to the waiting room.

Sandy told Joe she was going to give Tom’s mom and dad another call. We know them and I want them to know we are here with him. She stepped out and called Randy and Jill, Tom’s parents, and after giving them the best update she could, she told them they would be there when they got in tomorrow and would keep them informed of any changes. Greg can pick you at the airport if you would like and you can stay at our place also. She was just hanging up when she looked up and saw Carl and June walk in. She motioned for them to follow her and they made their way to the waiting room. When Sarah saw her mom she lost it as the tears started to flow and June put her arms around her trying to comfort her. Carl walked over to Joe putting his hand on his shoulder and no words needed to be said.

“To be continued”


To Love or to Feel Love

Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? This question was part of a personality test written by Jonathan-Safran-Foer and posted by my friend David Kanigan. A great question that is worth the time to ponder. Giving this some thought it brought many questions to mind. These are just a few.

Do you love the feeling you get or do you love unconditionally?

Do you love when someone is not there or only when you are with them?

Do you spring into action when something attacks what you love or do you sit and wait for the dust to  settle?

Would you die for what you love or only attempt within reason to help?

Can you show your love or is your love just a hidden feeling you can’t or don’t express?

Can you show your love even when it is not to your benefit at the time?

Can you love and forget the shortcomings of your love or do you let the shortcomings affect your love?

Do you always nurture your love or just when you want that feeling of love?

Would you give up anything and everything for your love or would you sit back and wait until your timing was better for you?

Are you addicted to your love for the right reasons or are you just addicted?

Can you let your love go and still love what just left?

What is true love of someone or something? Love is very precious and should hold a place in our heart that no one can disrupt. Only we can spoil that love. That love does not spoil itself. One can spoil love for the other but it was not love that spoiled it. If we could all choose to love unconditionally then love would flourish! The hurts would disappear. The lives of everyone in this world would be affected in a positive way allowing God’s plan for each of us to be fulfilled. The golden rule comes to mind. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Do to others as you would want them to do to you as my Grandmother always said. True love would change our lives and those around us. My resolution for the future is to attempt to always love unconditionally. What will be yours?