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Some of the customers I sell to, I get to be friends with. The other day, I called on one that had just gotten out of the hospital.
I sat a spell while he told me about his ordeal in the hospital and his brush with death. I thought it was worth repeating. It reminded me that prayer is the greatest healer and lives can be changed with it. I hope I can do this story justice, as I’m writing from my memory alone.
I was surprised at how well he was able to put his thoughts and feelings into words so soon after that kind of ordeal.
His story? All learned men and women of medicine with the eye charts on the end of their names said basically the same thing to me once I had emerged from wherever God puts your mind while people are trying to save your life in a hospital. They said it was a miracle I had lived from what were the most complications that arose during what was supposed to have been a fairly routine heart surgery at a modern hospital.
All I know is what I read in the local paper later and what friends and these medical people told me.
But it does seem I spent days sticking one foot in and out of death’s door. To a man and woman, those doctors and nurses said to me after the critical time had passed, “We exhausted all medical possibilities. We did everything we knew to do for you and it probably wouldn’t have been enough.
What saved you was prayer.”
Can you believe that? Great men and women of science saying such a thing in 2013? Prayer?
Surely not. It had to be some new miracle drug developed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. It had to be one of those cardiac pumps they said they attached to my heart when it just up and decided not to beat anymore.
No, they said it was prayer.
One doctor explained, “Everyone came into the hospital during your worst time said they were praying for you. A friend said his church held a special prayer service for you. You had a lot of people asking that you be spared.”
What I did to deserve that, I don’t know, but I do know I’d spent a lot of time in my life doubting at one time or another. I doubted it all - spirituality, love, the basic goodness of human kind.
If the medical experts say prayer brought me back from certain death, who am I to doubt them?
Prayer only works if there is someone or something to grant the favor asked. My faith and belief that someone or something not only has been restored, but it has been forevermore cast in my soul as the great truth beyond all others. But now comes the hard part. I owe a lot of thank yous. I must thank those who are responsible for the fact I’m still amongst the quick. The hospital doctors and nurses know how I feel about them, but what do I do about the prayerful? Say simply, “Hey, everybody who prayed for me, thanks?” It’s got to be more profound than that.
I snatched away a new life. I have been to the other side of the veil and come back from behind it. I received the reprieve at the midnight hour. I made the dawn once more and it was bright and beckoned with the promise I could finish the unfinished and fulfill the unfulfilled. Here is what I would like to do. I would like to gather all of them in my store parking lot. All who lifted a voice when I stood in need of it so badly and, one by one, I would like to hug them around the neck and say, “I love you and I thank you for my life.”
So, I suppose I am left with one recourse, and that is to pray myself and ask, “Lord, you know who you heard from in my behalf. Please let them know there is no end to my gratitude.”
And for the record, even if you didn’t pray for me, it’s nice to be with you again, too.
To be honest, it’s just nice to be.
• Elroy Riggs is a Campbellsville resident who regularly contributes guest columns to the Central Kentucky News-Journal.