Viewing the Fine Needlework Tapestry
Finding faith in difficult times is not always easy. In my previous 2 articles I wrote about my journey to Finding Joy After Grief then Finding Happiness After Grief after the loss of my husband, Mike, to COVID-19 in December 2020.
Not a day passes that I don’t think about Mike’s extraordinary recovery from his heart attack. The ten years purchased by this miracle provided Mike and I with the most carefree times of our marriage.
I don’t know why we weren’t granted a similar miracle with Mike’s COVID journey. Now, we can only see the underside of the tapestry God wove for us before time began.
Believing in the Beautiful While Finding Faith In Difficult Times
The stitches of my paternal grandmother, Mattie Louella Gentry Sanders, have entertained my eyes and warmed my heart for many decades. I never recall having seen her in a sitting position without her hands vigorously moving in and out of some type of fabric. Whether it be the patches of a cathedral quilt square, the wool at the end of her knitting needles, or the colorful embroidery threads painting a picture on the top of muslin, her fingers worked ceaselessly. In spite of her expertise with needlework, her capacity to teach me these fine craft techniques was limited. My fingers lacked the nimbleness required for knitting. Crochet confused me on my best days. My quilting ability was wholly questionable. Tatting terrorized me. However, because of her unwavering tenacity, she gifted me with the ability to embroider. Early into our stitching sessions, I discovered the marvelous mystery of this craft . No matter how tangled the underside may be, the view from the top will be beautiful if one has the faith and diligence to complete the task. Through her own trials, my grandmother had long since come to terms with this truth.
Faith for a Miracle in Difficult Times
The phone rang at 5:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. I opened my startled eyes to Martha’s guest bedroom in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Several of my girlfriends and I had celebrated my birthday the previous night with laughter and a festive Italian dinner . It was my daughter’s voice on the other end of the line saying, “Dad is going to be alright.” I sat up and braced myself for the explanation. The rest of the conversation is vague, but the gist was chillingly simple. My sweet husband Mike had suffered a massive heart attack after driving himself to the rural hospital in our hometown of Kermit, Texas. He had coded in the emergency room and once again on the way out to the helicopter waiting to fly him to Odessa’s Medical Center Hospital. The nurses, the doctor’s and the EMT’s pounded, shocked, and performed heroic CPR with unswervingly earnest expertise. On the opposite end of the flight, Dr. P.J. Patel and the surgical staff exerted equally heroic efforts. The lay term for Mike’s cardiac event was “the widow-maker.” I knew that God had to dress me in calm strength that day so that I could make the trip back before anything else happened.
Shaking hard but praying harder, I arrived at the hospital in Odessa, Texas five hours later from New Mexico. A somber cardiac care doctor and nurse met me outside Mike’s room to update me before I entered. “If your husband makes it through the night, he will likely be in the intensive cardiac care unit for five weeks or so.” The tall, imposing physician minced no words describing the gravity of the situation.
Mike’s silent, swollen body was connected to a wall of blinking, pinging medical machinery. I sat on the right side of the bed, laid my head down next to his arm, and prayed through every waking minute of the night. In fact, more people than I even know prayed us through the valley that night. Early in the morning, Mike squeezed my hand and opened his blue eyes. The cardiac care doctor came in and checked on him a bit later. . After looking over the charts and machinery, his demeanor brightened significantly as he removed the oxygen tube. Mike had stepped around the most important corner of his life. Dr. Patel visited around noon, and Mike tearfully greeted him with profuse thanks for saving his life. Without a thought, the doctor answered back, “I can’t take the credit for this one. I had a Great Helper.”
Mike was moved out of the cardiac care unit and into a regular room by 5:00 that same evening. We slept soundly in our own bedroom one night afterward. We knew undoubtedly God had chosen Mike as the lead character in this miracle.
The View from the Tapestry Underside and Finding Faith in Difficult Times
Yes, not a day passes that I don’t think about Mike’s extraordinary recovery from his heart attack. The ten years purchased by this miracle provided Mike and I with the most carefree times of our marriage. We had raised our family, paid off our home, and Mike had retired from his job.. We relished time together breathing in the simple pleasures of life. We spent quality time with our adult daughters, played with our grandkids, and laughed with family and friends. Mike was at liberty to hit masses of practice golf balls and play multiple golf rounds each week. We were blessed with a decade of sampling the icing on life’s delicious cake.
I don’t know why we weren’t granted a similar miracle with Mike’s COVID journey. Now, we can only see the underside of the tapestry God wove for us before time began. But the perfection of God’s artistry can be seen every time we see beauty in the world whether it is with our eyes or with our hearts. Mike may not have been healed here on Earth, but his soul is certainly living its best life in Heaven. The topside of our tapestry will look flawless thanks to the skill of the Master’s Hands.
Please join me next time as we continue along this journey and explore finding hope after grief. Until then, enjoy every second of your own special journey.