First, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude for each prayer said for our family this week. My husband, Rick, had major surgery this past Monday, and your prayers have carried us through. His surgery was much more complicated than anticipated, but he did well and is home recovering. Looking back at everything that has transpired during these past few days, I can honestly say it is all grace. Emmanuel… God is with us… a truth, sometimes hidden, yet often felt. This is what your prayers did for me… they helped me remain aware. Aware of His Presence, of His Providence, of His Love, of His Care.
The last thing I said to him was, “I love you,” as they wheeled him off to the OR. I found a chair away from people in the waiting room, grabbed my coffee and my rosary, and settled in to wait for a while. After an hour and a half, I moved to a chair closer to the preop area door. Looking up each time the door opened, hoping it was the surgeon saying they were all done. A surgery that was supposed to take one hour turned into two, then three, then a call from the nurse saying, “There are some complications; try not to worry, we are still working on him.”
A lot goes through one’s mind and heart in those moments. A prayer of begging and surrender…
It was precisely at this moment that I felt the prayers calling down graces to live the present moment. A grace of courage to have a difficult conversation with God. A grace of trust to know that His Will is perfect and good; that no matter what happened, He was, and would always be, with us. He was with Rick in the OR, He was with our kids at home, and He was with me in the waiting room. And, always, a grace of hope.
Shortly after that call from the nurse, a friend texted and asked if I wanted her to bring me Communion to the waiting room. I said, yes, of course! Jesus wanted to be physically present in the waiting room with me. My friend stopped by, gave me Communion, and prayed with me. She was there representing all of you, and I felt your prayers strengthening me. There were moments when I felt afraid, yet I never lost my peace. I didn’t try to escape the moment either; I was able to remain present, in prayer, in the grace of the moment.
Five hours went by when, finally, the surgeon stepped out looking for me. She said he was in recovery and doing well. There had been some complications during surgery, so she still needed to run some blood work and keep him for observation, but she hoped everything would be ok. It would still be a while before I could see him, but I was so grateful. My friend, who was still with me, left, and I sat in a little corner, ate the sandwich I had packed, and just breathed. I breathed in the Holy Spirit and let Him wash over me. I asked for strength for what was just ahead, helping him through recovery, fully aware of my limitations due to my own disability. Once again, I felt the grace of your prayers, carrying the cross like Simon of Cyrene (cf. Matthew 27:32).
I got to bring Rick home the next day, and he is recovering beautifully at home. We are both resting, taking care of each other, and the kids are doing their part to help things run along. Yes, my friends, this is what your prayers have done for us. A highly complex surgery went well, and we are being carried by grace each moment. Like Rick said last week, let us always continue to pray for each other. Prayer works. We have experienced it over and over again. Let us not tire of asking… of offering sacrifices… of calling down grace for each other. Let us bring light to the places in darkness.
When I saw the little pyx containing Jesus in the waiting room, sitting next to me, I wondered who else He was visiting there. I got to be the one to receive Him, but I know He was not there just for me.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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