Early afternoon of the day Whit was to come home, a dear friend called to share a message from a group of young ladies. They felt led to organize a human prayer chain around our home to pray for Whitney. They insisted that no one would attempt to come in the house or intrude in any way. I'll have to admit that I was worried about how that might be a little much for Whit if she was still in her delicate condition, but how could anyone turn away what might be a defining act of love and faith. So, I called back and suggested we do it the next evening when Whit would be settled in better. Early the next afternoon, a few friends began to show up, as did a couple of local news vans. The news crews--insisting they were not there to intrude in any way--asked me if I wanted to say anything. I responded that I'd just like to thank everyone for all that they had done for Whit. I walked inside and mentioned my intentions to Patrick and asked if he'd like to say anything. Patrick can be reserved so I was a little surprised when he replied, "Sure". When the guy finished interviewing Patrick, I just looked at him and said, "I can't touch that, brother." He nodded in agreement.
I don't think they aired the whole statement by Patrick, but it touched on the essence of Whit's message and why it resonated with so many people...even people who did not have faith. Whitney wanted everyone to share two things with her--faith and a love of life.
By 5 pm, our yard was full of friends, relatives and lots of folks I'd never met before. Nevertheless, every face was somehow familiar. They came with singular purpose...totally selfless. They were here for her. Nothing in a Godless theory of evolution could explain why so many would give so much... never expecting anything in return that would contribute to their survival or advantage. It was an act of love--an act of God.
No one there will ever forget that night. We opened the window and the door as the cool evening air carried prayers, songs, and praise into the front room where Whitney was. She was able to see everyone as they passed by the front window and in the premier moment of this wonderful, terrible journey, she lifted her feeble hand in praise as she whispered along with "How Great is Our God". I walked outside and briefly embraced everyone as they marched around the house. I kinda lost my starting place and probably hugged a few folks twice. But my efforts seemed incomplete, half-measure...substituted, sorta like my trying to finish Whit's story on this blog. I asked Ramona what she thought about letting folks walk through. The nurse agreed it would be alright if everyone sanitized their hands as they came in. So, we asked Whitney. She immediately nodded her head as if it was preordained. What followed was pure excellence in full measure. It was my miracle. I've never been so proud in my life. Not just of Whitney, but of everyone there and everyone who was praying where they were. It was especially powerful to witness young people and children who held her hand and heard her weak voice tell them to stay the course. That's got to have an impact. Whitney glowed for hours after the event. Spiritually, her sails were full. It was that night she started answering our questions about her well being with, "I'm good to go". My deepest gratitude to everyone who participated that night..whether you were there or prayed from where you were.
One of my best friends, so impacted by the event, felt compelled to return the next few mornings to walk around the house and pray. I usually did not even know he was there. His wife and daughter came one morning and Whit's dog alerted me to their presence. She was following them around the house barking all along. When they finished, I asked them if the dog was praying with them. They laughingly replied she was until she started running down the road. I told them, "Of course, she's Pentecostal".