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Pastoral ponderings . . . .
The theme for our Lenten journey last month was “Answered Prayer: Reason for Hope.” Five people from our Mount Tabor family were invited to share their experience of prayer in their faith journeys during Holden Evening Prayer on Wednesday nights. It was a gift to us to hear their stories. It was living water in the wilderness. The following is the reflection that Shayna Wyasket gave on March 14th.
The sweet spot. That is what we are waiting for, the cardiologist told me. Your husband needs time for his lungs to heal, to be able to withstand anesthesia. He needs time to have the bleed in his brain heal before he can handle the amount of blood thinners that are given for open heart surgery. He is in heart failure and we don’t have the time to allow all of these things to come together perfectly. So we are just waiting for that sweet spot, the day that will be the best chance for a favorable outcome.
The words ‘the sweet spot’ made me think more of the Bermuda Triangle. A triangle of seemingly impossible scenarios that need to come together at the same time was more like a disaster waiting to happen than a sign of hope. The charge nurse of the ICU hugged me and told me to cry, to get it all out. When there were no more tears, I went off to tell family, friends and coworkers the news.
In the age of instant texting and social media, news can get around pretty fast. When pastor asked me if I would give a talk during the Lenten service, I went back and read all the messages I received while Jason was in the hospital. It was Christmas time, and people wanted to know how they could help. Do you need any last minute Christmas shopping or wrapping done? Can we bring you dinner? Does someone need to walk your dog? So many offers of help during that trying time. But there wasn’t really anything to be done.
Except prayers. We needed prayers. Prayers that everything would align so that the surgery could go forward safely and successfully. Prayers that our spirits would hold up during this trying time. Prayers that the doctors and medical staff would make the best decisions possible. Every time someone asked “What can we do?” That is what I asked for.
We had prayers from you, our church family. We had prayers from our coworkers. Our family was on 3 Temple Prayer Rolls! We had blessing from Pastor David and Jason’s father, who was a branch President in the LDS church. We had prayers and well wishes from our neighbors and even friends we hadn’t seen for many years. We felt like the whole hospital, where Jason worked as well as was a patient of, was praying for us.
The day of the surgery, Pastor came in and gave our family a blessing. I’ve never been so calm during such a scary ordeal. Jason and I discussed it, later, after the surgery and things were headed in the right direction. We physically felt surrounded by all the prayers, like we were wrapped in a cocoon. What an amazing feeling that was.
Regardless of the outcome, I feel the answer to our prayers was not the outcome. It very well could have gone the other direction. The answer to the prayers was given much earlier.
In 1987, a young man at Southern Utah University accepted an invitation to a candle light service on Christmas Eve. Though it wasn’t his church or his denomination, he accepted that invitation. He remembered that church, the beautiful music, the welcoming Pastor West. When he moved to Salt Lake with his bride, he said he had just the church for them to join. Later his children were baptized, received first communion and confirmation there. That congregation became their family. That congregation is you and that young man was Jason.
We nurture relationships with friends, coworkers and neighbors. Do unto others, God implores. The relationships we make throughout our lives are the answer to our prayers. God brought these people into your life and you into theirs to encourage and console. The people who uplift you during hardship and who you reassure during their trials are what you need to get through troubled times. The inherent goodness of other people is what gets you through the bad times, because bad times don’t always have a good outcome. It’s the support you have before, during and after that time that gets you through. It’s that cocoon of prayers, holding you tight, giving you hope when you are in your own Bermuda Triangle. That is the real sweet spot.