My Mother put it well, “I have felt surrounded by love and prayers, and that’s why I am still here.” She was describing her experience in the hospital of going through 3 ½ days of cardiac arrest – and being “coded” a total of 13 times when her heart was shocked back into life. For some of those days our family really feared that we would lose her, but she has made an amazing turn-around and is stable now and improving a little each day. We are hopeful that the pacemaker/defribulator that she will receive on Monday will solve these issues. She will still have a time of recovery, including more therapy on her knee which was the surgery that started this health crisis.

Our family is grateful for the many, many prayers and loving support that we and Mother have received. Especially I am grateful for the prayers of those attending the North Central Jurisdictional Conference this past week. I was glad that Mother stabilized enough for me to join the NCJ on Friday, and I was overwhelmed by the standing ovation that the NJC offered to me – and to Mom. Many e-mails, cards, phone calls, hospital visits, and concerns have come our way, and we are grateful for them all.

Yes, my mother is right that being surrounded by love and prayer is what keeps all of us going in life. Especially in times of illness we learn this truth. I have always believed in the power of prayer, and these past several days have been an example of that truth.

I also acknowledge that my Mother’s own spirit and good humor have helped her. On Wednesday during the change of shifts of nurses, I was able to witness the following exchange in Mother’s hospital room:

Nurse: Mrs. Coyner, I have to ask you some questions to make sure you are doing well mentally. I know you have heard these questions before, but let us ask you again. What year is it?

Mother: 2008

Nurse: Who is the President?

Mother: Bush, the second one.

Nurse: Do you know where you are?

Mother: Yes, I do.

Nurse: Could you tell me where you are?

Mother: Yes, I could.

Nurse: Mrs. Coyner, I need to know, where are we right now?

Mother: You mean you don’t know?

Nurse: I know where we are, and I think I know you know where we are, but I need to hear you say it.

Mother: I am in the hospital. I came in by helicopter last Sunday. It was a great ride, you ought to try it sometime.

Nurse (to me): I think she is doing just fine.

I think the nurse finally realized my mother was teasing her and enjoying the whole exchange. Such a good spirit and good humor certainly helps, along with the prayers and love of others.

We know that Mom has a long way to go, and we know that there are no guarantees, but such moments will be treasured as a wonderful gift – a gift that is wrapped in love and prayer.

from Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church