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The healing quality of appreciation

My husband and I gathered for an outdoor visit with a few spatially distanced neighbors last week. We sat under the oak trees and laughed with friends about silly things as people do when they are tired of the news, the heartaches, and events in our world today.

At 7:14 pm, we collectively prayed our country would be cured of the horrific disease which has trampled our lives and disrupted our world. Don, a home town friend, requested that many raise our voices at a specific time to fill the heavens with healing pleas. I so appreciate the friend who reminded us of God’s words, “For where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Afterward, friendly chatter filled the air, as the crickets came alive with their own noises in the twilight. Within the hour, the competing cacophonies of crickets and frogs were drowned by the sound of sirens rushing into our neighborhood.

My husband had collapsed. A strong, healthy man who had laughed in the moonlight just a few moments before, became eerily quiet. His color finally began to return as paramedics attended him, trying to determine what was wrong.

The ambulance drove him to the emergency room to make sure he had not endured a heart attack or stroke. Because of the pandemic, one cannot accompany a patient to the hospital, so I remained on the phone with those aiding him most of the night.

The hospital was full of newly confirmed virus cases, and after David was thoroughly evaluated and tested, it was determined it was safe for him to return home. As I drove the deserted highways at 3 am on Wednesday morning, I realized how much I appreciated the paramedic team, the doctors and nurses who were there to assist any who called for help. How grateful we were that my husband was coming home when I knew others that night might never return to theirs.

David will follow up with more tests, but as of now, he is back to his boisterous self, yet a bit altered. He realizes that one can be transported to a world of uncertainty, of doom, of death within a moment. We all take life for granted most of the time. It is not until we realize it can be taken away, that we start appreciating every breath we take.

The following dawn, while David slept in, I turned on the morning news. Those dreaded numbers popped up on the screen, recording rising Coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations. We view the same statistics every morning without much thought as to what each added amount represents.

Every number is a person who is sick or dead. These represent heartache and suffering, with each digit embodying fear, uncertainty, solitude, and pain. Until we are faced with understanding each statistic, do we really appreciate every breath we take?