August 9th never passes without remembering my brother-in-law. He was killed on this day ten years ago in a small airplane crash in Alaska. It was a crash that my nephew, then thirteen, survived. He spent eighteen hours trapped on the side of a mountain before he could be rescued, all the while knowing his father was dead.
He suffered a number of serious injuries that required more than one surgery, and each time—for years—as he was coming out of anesthesia he would cry out, “Dad, please don’t be dead!”
As another surgery approached, my parents decided they would pray that this time, their dear grandson would wake up thinking of something happy. They offered all of their Holy Hours for this intention.
When the surgeon came out to give his report to my sister, he was smiling, shaking his head. “That’s sure a happy kid,” he said, “came out of anesthesia smiling and laughing.”
Recently my parents moved into a little apartment, which they love. At 92 and 86, they were ready to downsize. In that process my mother gave me a box filled with the various devotions and prayers that she and my father have offered together over the years. It was stuffed full of sheets where my mother had meticulously kept track of countless “prayer projects” offered on behalf of others. A box of hidden bounty known only to the Lord.
I cannot help but reflect on the value of this—this prayer treasure box—and what it must mean to our all-powerful God, the One Who chooses to visit us more often in whispers than in tempests. What honor my parents have brought to Heaven, tucked into a mostly empty adoration chapel, faithful, quiet, hidden.
There was no drama, but their faithfulness and firm belief. May it be that for us, too.