This is the e-mail I have longed to send to you.
Trish woke up today -- really woke up!
The doctors had removed her ventilator at 7:30 AM. Since she was able to swallow and breathe just fine, there was no need for a tracheotomy. They are still giving her a little oxygen through her nose because she is not yet taking deep breaths. Tomorrow they plan to move her out of ICU!
She can't talk very well, not because of any neurological impermanent but because of the nearly three weeks she has had a tube down her throat. Her body is also very weak. But I sat in a chair and put my ear down next to her mouth so she could whisper to me.
I thought I would share a bit of our conversation with you. "Why aren't you taking care of the evening service?" she asked. (Pastors wives will understand this question!)
"Someone else is taking care of it tonight," I replied.
"Is there food in the house?"
"More than we can eat, " I assured her. "People are helping us with food."
"Did you dream while you were asleep so long?" I asked
"Yes," she answered. " I kept looking for my grandchildren. I wanted to hold my babies."
"Thousands are praying for you, " I told her. "Praise the Lord!" she whispered.
"You are going to my all right. God is not finished with you yet."
"No he's not. We have things to do."
"Well, we have been feeling that God was about to take us into a new season of fruitful ministry. I just didn't know it would happen like this!"
"It's all OK." she smiled. (Our conversation was not all holy. Here is a sample of some of the other stuff. Things I am willing to write!)
"Marty (our brother-in-law) fell through his shower door. He sprained his other ankle. (He recently broke one of his ankles.) He's OK though. Your mom and dad were in the next room but they couldn't help him because he was naked."
She looked very concerned for a minute. Then she laughed -- so hard I thought I should call a nurse.
I have no more commentary than this tonight. The road to her recovery is now before us. There will be many weeks and months of exercise and therapies of various kinds to face, no doubt. But the person I spoke to tonight was my Trish. The grace, love of God, concern for her family and her unquenchable humor is all there.
God be praised!
I thank you all for your fervent prayer. I thank you for your encouraging e-mails. I thank you for not getting angry at me for adding to your e-mail spam! Most of all, I thank you for being the church. For I discovered in my hour of trial, that this ever dysfunctional mess we call the church, really can, when the situation requires, "rise up as an army with banners." I have been walking with Jesus Christ these three weeks because you reflected Him so wonderfully. I hope I have learned to do that for your hour of need. If so, then you have taught me some things I really needed to be a Christian.
I may write you much less now. I will do my best though to keep you informed of her progress as she prepares herself for what I believe will be the best and most fruitful years of her life and ministry -- and mine.