Monday, March 24
As I walked out of Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital, thick clouds were blowing across the sky and thunder rolled in the distance. Sad and frustrated, I looked up and said out loud, “Okay, God, I need you to take it from here. I just can’t do it any more.”
I had left my husband lying in a bed for the second of what eventually would be nine hospitalizations in a period of six months. One day he was a busy lawyer working 60 hours a week; the next day he was being fed through a tube, bathed and dressed by nursing assistants, struggling to sit up by himself, learning to use a walker. One little blood clot moving from the heart to the brain had changed our lives forever, and we knew that getting better would be a long, slow process.
That evening, after son Graham had asked God to bless Harvey and left for the night, I drove nearly all the way home before realizing I had left my cell phone in his room. I put my head on the steering wheel and breathed a big sigh. Calls and messages were coming in on that phone at all hours, including those from doctors and from our children. I was angry with myself and with the whole situation, blind to anything but my own exhaustion.
So when a young man called out to me in the parking lot of the hospital, I ignored him as I ran through the rain. He caught up with me inside at the elevator. “Mrs. Cosper. Hello. I was in school with your daughter Ann.”
I looked at the thin young man with curly hair whom I had not really known and had not seen in many years. “Oh, hi. Ann is here every weekend. Her dad is upstairs; he had a stroke.” He hesitantly told me that he had come to attend a support group. Then he asked, “May I come and see Mr. Cosper?” Until that point, we had not allowed any visitors except our children and ministers. “Okay, sure,” I responded warily.
Harvey was lying in the dark room. The young man strode forward, introduced himself and lifted Harvey’s hand to shake it. Then he asked, “Would it be all right if I prayed for you?”
Standing at the foot of the bed, he folded his hands, bowed his head, and stood quietly. “You can pray out loud,” I said. “We are praying folks.” But the young man stood, still and silent, in deep and reverent concentration. I bowed my head. Harvey closed his eyes.
Slowly, as minutes passed, a great tranquility spread over us and filled the room. We breathed quietly. Finally, the young man gently reached across the bed again for Harvey’s hand. “God bless you, sir,” he said, and we knew that he already had. “Young man,” Harvey told him, “you can come and visit me any time.”
In a spirit of great peace, I retrieved my phone just as it rang. It was our son David, who lives in New Zealand. Because of the 18-hour time difference, he had not been able to speak with his dad since returning from a visit right after the stroke. I put the phone on Harvey’s chest, and David said all the meaningful things to show his understanding and love. Harvey told him, “David, an angel just visited me in my room tonight.”
Had I not forgotten my phone, the angel would not have visited us, and Harvey would not have been able to talk to his beloved son. I later discovered that the young man had survived some tragic circumstances and struggled through a difficult recovery. God had surely made him an angel in answering our deepest prayers and bringing us a profound peace that has lasted to this day.
Lift in prayer today
A Child’s Place, working to erase the impact of homelessness on children