Monday, December 12, 2011


"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe."


Over the last several weeks, I've been witness to countless aspects of power and it's varied consequences in our lives. If you think about it, "power" is really an amazing concept. It encompasses so many different sources and a nearly endless array of outcomes. It can be both good and bad - often at the same time. Let me show you what I mean:

Power: Good v Evil
Last week, a terrible injustice was perpetrated against someone we know. A local School Board called a last moment 'emergency' meeting to discuss the dismissal of a Principal. The meeting was very hush-hush, and was called in such haste that is was clear to those close to the matter that something was amiss. The Principal in question has been a long-time district employee who has both taught at this particular school, and whose children attended the same school as well. She is well liked by students and staff alike, and has dedicated many years of service to the community she represents. Those 'in the know' felt that charges being made against the Principal were baseless and the issue really stemmed from a personal vendetta of one particular Board member. Though I'm sure not what they expected, at the meeting, the Board faced an angry gallery that was filled with parents, staff and students who supported the Principal - many of whom spoke up on her behalf. After half-heartedly 'listening' to the attendees, the Board went behind closed doors to vote on whether or not to dismiss the Principal. It was no surprise to anyone that the Board voted not to renew the Principal's contract for next school year. Score: Evil 1, Good 0

Interestingly, this 'emergency' Board meeting took place just two days before a regularly scheduled meeting. At the regular meeting, one Board member retired, a new member was sworn in, and elections for Board positions took place. With the new Board member seated, and positions delegated, a new 'emergency' meeting was called for January to re-visit the dismissal issue. Though the outcome has yet to be determined, it's fair to say that most everyone believes the Board will rescind the dismissal and renew next year's contract for the Principal. Score: Even-Steven

Power: Mother Nature v 60-year Old Christmas Tree
Wednesday (or WINDSday as we now call it) November 30th brought the most powerful windstorm that's hit our area in a very, very long time. Winds up to 90 miles per hour ripped through local towns downing power lines and uprooting 60/80/100-year old trees - snapping them like they were twigs.

When all was said and done, our small town, as well as many others in the surrounding area, lost hundreds - literally - of majestic trees of all shapes and sizes. There was no rhyme or reason as to which trees were toppled and which remained - Mother Nature was indiscriminate in her fury. One particularly significant loss was our town Christmas tree. It's been standing at the north east corner of Library Park for 60 years. Each year it's decorated with lights and ornaments and we hold an official tree lighting ceremony and follow that with a town Christmas parade. This year the lighting ceremony and parade were to have taken place on Thursday, December 1st. Sadly, the Christmas tree was downed by the powerful winds and is no longer standing. Obviously the ceremony and parade were canceled. Here's a look before and after:
Heartbreaking. Score: Mother Nature 1, Tree 0

However, there is a bit of a bright spot: the local Home Depot has donated a 17-foot Cedrus Deodara to replace the tree we lost. Hey, at least it's a start! Score: Tree 1, Mother Nature - well, I'm not one to trifle with Mother Nature, but let's just say we didn't completely completely go down in a blaze of glory ;o)

Power: Super Bug v Super Antibiotic
I mentioned in my last post that mom came home from the care facility, but was still experiencing some difficulties. Shortly after I posted that, mom returned to the hospital - she was very, very ill.

As if the accident and surgery weren't enough, while in the care facility, she developed pneumonia which they treated with antibiotics. A couple of days before she was due to be released, she developed severe diarrhea. They treated her for a couple of days with Flagyl, but it did not subside. Still, in their 'ultimate wisdom', the care facility released her to come home - even with severe diarrhea (go ahead, ask me how I feel about this ... I double-dog dare ya!). Within a few days, mom had grown worse. The diarrhea still remained, and in fact had become even more severe, and she was terribly weak and short of breath - a sure fire sign that the pneumonia had not subsided either.

On Monday, November 28th, I took mom back to the hospital where she was admitted with pneumonia and a severe intestinal infection. She had an extremely elevated white blood cell count - 43,000, and they began treating her with antibiotics immediately. By Wednesday, her white blood cell count had soared even higher - 50,000 - and they told us that mom's intestinal infection was so severe, in order to survive, she would need surgery to remove her colon the following morning. They felt at that time that surgery was the only way she would be able to get rid of the infection. She had contracted Clostridium difficile; a 'super bug' so powerful, if not treated immediately and aggressively, it can cause death. We were stunned - shocked. How can this just keep spiraling out of control? That day, they started treating her with a brand new antibiotic that just hit the market in August. It's the first drug in 25 years that was created to specifically treat this particular infection. The following morning, we all gathered at the hospital early to be with mom before she went in to surgery. By the time we arrived, they'd already taken blood to do some lab work prior to the surgery; while we were talking to mom, the doctor came in and said that the lab work had improved significantly from the previous day. Her white blood cell count had dropped from 50,000 to 38,000; the new medication was definitely working!

It's been - and continues to be - a very long, slow process, but each day mom gets a little bit better. Currently, her white blood cell count is within normal limits, her vital signs are stable, and she's recovering. Score: Super Bug 0, Super Antibiotic 1

Power: The Awesomeness of God
Though not overtly 'religious', I'm definitely a believer - I always have been. But the last couple of months have really shown me the incredibly awesome power that is God. Most days I have my own casual conversations with God; thanking him for the many blessings in our lives - each other, our families, our jobs, food and shelter - the usual things. Lately, however, with the lives of two of the people I love the most dangling over the edge, my prayers to God have been different. Multiple times a day I find myself talking to God - praying for my parents' restored health; praying for the wisdom of the doctors treating their ailments; praying for the compassion of the nurses tending to their needs. These prayers are different; they are more direct in desire, and more complex in scope. I find that I'm praying to God for wisdom of my own; for the strength to give everything up to Him, as I know it should be, and to be at peace with His chosen results.

I've always known it - and somehow felt it, but recently I've witnessed first hand the power of prayer and the power and awesomeness of our loving God. By the grace of God, I am blessed. Score: God 1 - and really, that makes us all winners.

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