plenty to pray about

There are never a shortage of things to pray about.  Two situations have been weighing heavily on my mind and heart tonight.

My mom’s knee surgery went as expected on Tuesday, but she’s not been having the best time since the surgery.  Her blood pressure got so low on Wednesday (67 over something) that she had to be given two pints of blood.  She was very nervous about receiving blood, just as I would be.  Plus she’s been in a lot of pain.  Most of the time, her pain is managed pretty well with Percoset, but it has gotten bad at times, too.  Her knee is bandaged at an angle, and apparently it will be a while before she puts any weight on it.  Today’s goal was to get her sitting up and have her dangle her legs on the side of the bed.  I don’t know if that goal was accomplished or not, because when I called Mom was sleeping and I could only talk to Dad.

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot.  She and I are a lot alike in our core personalities, and with our personalities being what they are, it often means that we don’t get along as well as we wished we did.  I think of it as two equal sides of a magnet; they’re so alike that they push each other away.  However, as mother and daughter, we have a strong bond of love that will always be there.  So, in this terribly difficult time for her, I really wish I could be there to hold her hand.  I miss so many things being so far from Wisconsin.  Most of the time I really love living in California, and I still do, but the price of loving life in CA is that I am absent from major events that happen with my family.

I know how anxious I get about big changes, and I know my mom is the same way.  We both like to be in control of what’s happening to us.  Having major surgery like this involves giving up so much control, and I can only imagine how difficult this must be for my mom.  I feel for her so deeply — and there’s nothing I can do except pray.  That’s hard.

Due to her blood pressure issues, she will be staying an extra day in the hospital.  Plans are for her now to stay until Saturday; we’ll see how that goes.  Then she’ll be moved to a rehab center closer to her house.  Hopefully there she will learn to get back on her feet again.

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In other news of things to pray about, as JJ and the girls and I watched the NFL game on TV tonight (Vikings vs. Saints – you can only imagine which team my Farve-condemning husband was rooting for!), the local news broke into the broadcast with Breaking News of a large explosion and fire that had occurred in San Bruno.  San Bruno is the city where the San Francisco Airport is actually located, and it’s about three cities north of us.  Initial reports were that a plane had crashed, but that turned out to be false.  What actually happened (it seems) is that a large high-pressure, natural gas pipeline exploded, creating a huge 60-foot high fireball and burning around over 50 homes in that residential neighborhood.

I immediately became a nervous wreck.  I walked outside and looked to the north (we live on a high hill overlooking the Bay to the north and east – we can see some of the San Francisco skyline from our house) and saw lots of smoke in the sky over to the north.  It was, in some ways, a beautiful sight; the sun was setting, and bands of colors from the sunset were hanging in the sky.  The addition of smoke added shape to the sunset in an almost artistic way, but it was a terrifying sight, because I knew what it meant.

I wasn’t scared for my own safety; we’re located much too far away for the fire to get to us.  Like I said, it would have to go through three cities to get to us, and that’s highly unlikely.  But, I kept thinking about the families with little kids and babies, families who had just finished dinner and were taking baths and reading stories and washing up supper dishes when this explosion happened.

I tried to shield what had happened from my girls, especially Lyd, who is super-sensitive to these sorts of things (just like I was — and still am).  She knew there was a fire, but she knew the fire fighters were taking care of it; that’s all I told her.  But when I put her and her sister to bed tonight and did our nightly prayers, it gave a whole new layer of meaning to the prayers.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take,
And this I ask for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

After the girls were in bed, I looked through our church directory to see if any of our members lived in San Bruno.  One lady did.  I called her cellphone and left a message, saying that if they needed a place to go to tonight, they were welcome to come and stay with us.  I then decided to try her home line, and, amazingly, I got through and talked to her husband, who is not a member of our church.  He said that they had been out of power for about two hours, and that the fire was about six blocks away.  His wife and her grown daughter had gone out for a walk to get closer to the fire to see what was going on.  (WHAT?!?!?)  I told him what the TV reports were saying: that people in that area should prepare to evacuate.  I strongly urged him and his wife to consider evacuating.  I told him they could come to our house, but he said that his mother lives in a city south of us, and they would go there.  I hope to get in touch with his wife tomorrow and make sure they and their house are okay.

It’s just so scary, however, to think that something like this could happen in a residential neighborhood.  It’s making national news, because it’s such a big fire!

I wish there was something I could tangibly do to help.  I wish I could take some displaced family with young kids and bring them into my home tonight.  Sadly, that won’t be happening.  The only tangible thing that I heard that people can do (besides donate money) is to donate blood.  The news is reporting that there are a number of badly burned people in SF area hospitals who are going to be needing a lot of blood.  So, perhaps JJ and/or I will do that tomorrow.  I haven’t donated in a long time, and since I’m not a large person, I seem to remember it tiring me out quite a bit last time I did it, but we’ll see if one of us can’t make a donation like that tomorrow.

There is always so many things to pray about, and so many reminders that we live in a world filled with the effects of sin.  I was talking to a friend recently about the difference between the effects of the sins we commit and the effects of sin’s presence in the world.  We don’t have to feel guilty when we experience the effects of sin’s presence in the world, because that’s not our fault.  Those bad things just happen, and they’re part of the “creation groaning” under the presence of sin.  Those bad events are important reminders to pray, and I will definitely be doing that tonight.

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