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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lookin' in the Valley

Another hill has been scaled. I am feeling great, better than in quite some time, in fact.  To parody James Brown; “I feel good, so good, ‘cause I got a stent!”
Yep, the blood is flowing again, my brain has emerged from the fog (which I had not even noticed creeping in), and I have a lot more energy. Just keep that on the down-low; if my Lovely Bride finds out….need I say more. ;)
Standing atop of hills and mountains can be an exhilarating experience. The views are panoramic, as great vistas stretch to the far horizon. Peering into the valleys can provide an array of streams, fields, villages, and winding highways.
However, sometimes looking into the valley can be a bit more somber. 
Late this past week, I received a call from my cousin Mike. Mike and I are close; we hardly ever talk or see one another, yet we are close. It is an unusual relationship; see my Dad and Mike’s Dad are brothers.  No real big deal there, until you toss in the fact my Mother and Mike’s Mother are sisters. No, we live in Northern Ohio. We are probably as close as two people can be and not be siblings.  Mike has 3 siblings.  We grew up with one another (a close Irish family that has subsequently drifted apart, the curse of suburban sprawl), although we have always been there for weddings, babies, picnics, and yes the funerals of parents. To bind our relation even closer, Mike’s family and my family are also brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, I was a bit surprised when I saw Mike’s name pop up on my caller ID. Of course, I grabbed the call. After some preliminary conversation (for an Irish family, this takes about half an hour), and he then got to the primary purpose of the call; One of his sister’s sons had decided life was not worth living any longer.
I was stunned. I could only recall a happy little baby boy blessing my cousin’s home. I recalled a baby growing into an active boy and adolescent only to sadly distance himself from his parents.  I remembered my cousin and my Lovely Bride were pregnant at the same time. I know our respective fathers were comparing baby development notes.  Now, a life has been snuffed out, 2 little children left to carry an undeserved burden and my cousin….I cannot even imagine the private anguish she is enduring.
Another glimpse into the valley occurred this morning upon arriving at church. Today was our Annual Summer Shindig, Bar-B-Q, picnic, fun and games day. Today was even more special, as a former Ohio State University stand-out running back was speaking. My task; help with grilling chicken, burgers and dogs for approximately 500 people.
I calmly puttered through the parking lot, only to have our Associate Pastor frantically waving me aside. Unbeknownst to me, an ambulance was expected momentarily. A gentleman who had been assisting with setting up tables and chairs outdoors had suffered a full cardiac arrest. Thankfully, our church leadership had planned well in advance for such an event. We have a AED de-fibrillater on hand, and several members are medical professionals. 
The ambulance arrived, accompanied by the Fire Shift commander, a police car, and a fire truck. I was a bit puzzled over the necessity of the fire truck, but I don’t write the response protocol. The man was eventually wheeled out and placed in the back of the ambulance, just as a second ambulance pulled in. I could only assume the city leaders figured this was as good a time as any to show the citizens what their tax-dollars have provided.
The gentleman’s wife was escorted to the front seat of the ambulance by the police officer. Then, I see my Lovely Bride speaking with the woman.  Again, I was across the parking lot, leaning upon Ol’ Bess my Jeep, as I didn’t need to be getting everyone’s way.  I was doing the best thing I knew; praying.
Quickly she informed me of her intention to accompany the woman to the hospital. I was touched by her compassion for this lady. I knew she had a day filled with campaign appearances; yet she would forsake this to help a person in need.
Later in the evening, when she did make it home after getting some campaigning in, LB affirmed how she could sympathize for this wife following my recent bit of adventure.  And, how grateful she is my discovery was fairly benign in comparison.
She is quite a lady, I am very blessed man.

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