A Note from Stephanie: Timothy has decided to start something new. He’s writing a book, and it’s off to a great start! We hope you’ll enjoy the first chapter, and that you’ll look forward to more chapters appearing here on this blog in the coming weeks!
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
–Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
It was going on Eddie Young’s sixth month at Friendly House, but there was nothing friendly about it. It seemed as though Eddie had been there forever, and he was both angry and bitter. Just thinking about the cold food and clinical smells that awakened him every morning made him feel like he was in prison, strangled by bars of indifference. In short, his future appeared hopeless.
Eddie often visualized the accident which had taken his sight and his wife, leaving him with the heart attack that almost killed him.
“I’m going to have to live in a foreign world now,” Eddie told himself, shivvering as he replayed the details of the accident in his mind’s eye once more.
It had been a wet day, and Eddie’s wife was driving. Their car had been turning off the freeway when the brakes of the eighteen-wheeler on the other side of the divider had failed. The crash that followed was deafening. Much later, Eddie learned that the water and oil on the road had caused the rig to slide across two lanes of traffic.
When Eddie woke up, he learned that he was in the ICU, and that he had been in an accident. Although he couldn’t see a thing, Eddie tried to move, but he was told to lie still. All Eddie knew for sure was that tubes and wires surrounded him. There was the distant sound of beeping, so Eddie tried to open one eye and sit up to see what it was. Falling back on the bed, he groaned in protest.
“Settle down,” said a woman who turned out to be the nurse. “I’ll give you something wet.”
She fed him some ice chips with a spoon. Then, straightening up, she went out the door.
A few minutes later, the doctor sat down on the side of Eddie’s bed.
“Can you hear me, son?” The doctor’s voice was soft and compassionate.
Answering aloud would have been a supreme effort, so Eddie flexed his muscles and held up one finger.
“Good,” the doctor said, as Eddie sank down on the bed again. “Do you know where you are?”
“Hospital …” Eddie whispered in a hoarse, cracked voice.
“That’s right,” the doctor replied. “Now get some rest.”
But Eddie’s body only jerked involuntarily. He wanted to scream out in terror, “Black! Everything’s all black!” But the doctor put his hand on Eddie’s shoulder, telling him to calm down and assuring him that they would talk later.
Once more, Eddie fell into a drug-induced sleep of agony and pain.
He stayed in the ICU for a week, and then he was transferred to a private room upstairs. Once there, he started the long journey which he hoped would lead to health.
Unfortunately, he was again transferred. This time, however, he was given very little advance notice.
In the relative light and safety of the hospital, the description of Friendly House which the representative supplied was alluring. But with the unknown haunting him, Eddie was still hesitant to go. In the end, however, he had no choice.
The nurses, who had grown fond of him, clandestinely chipped in and bought their patient an old radio they found at the thrift store down the street. They threw him a surprise party on his last day at the hospital.
“Now you have an electronic roommate!” One of the nurses said with a smile in her voice, as she handed him the gift.
Eddie didn’t think he wanted a roommate, but at the same time he knew he had to be practical. After all, he was new to the whole blindness thing, and he felt completely helpless.
In the end, that wasn’t his decision to make either, since his room had already been assigned.
At Friendly House, Eddie was led into his cramped quarters, where he would live alone.
“Since you won’t need a window,” the administrator told him, “you will stay here.”
Located by the nurse’s station, Eddie was to find out later that his new room had once been a supply closet. A security camera was installed in the corner, allegedly for his safety. Mr. Young was told that the nurses could come into his tiny room at a moment’s notice.
Eddie was skeptical about this arrangement from day one, and his suspicions were proven to be correct as the weeks went on. As he had thought, the camera was mainly there to look good, as the nurses were usually on break. There was an open house once a month, to attract donors to Friendly House. Here he was put on display, in order to show off the home’s supposed compassion.
When he balked at this, Eddie was told that he had a choice. He could either cooperate and work for three meals a day, or else he would only get one.
Although Eddie hated this arrangement, he knew that he had to acquiesce if he wanted to get his strength back.
Conditions were even worse between open houses. In spite of the radio, the solitude was still his worst enemy.
Eddie had always been a loner of sorts, but before the accident he’d at least had his old cars. They had been his life. But what did he have now? His life was empty and lonely.
Eddie had never believed in God, but what did he have to lose by pretending? So he called out into the emptiness, wondering if anyone would hear him.
“God, if you’re real, show me.”
But the arms of silence were the only thing which surrounded him, so he lay back on the bed, deciding to take a nap.
Eddie rolled over as the sad strains of country music played in the background.
Eddie suddenly awoke with a start as a crackling sound filled his ears. He reached over and whacked the old radio, which sat on the corner of the nightstand.
“A true repairman,” Eddie thought with a grin.
The crackling subsided, and he was about to roll over again when something happened that would change his life forever.
Mr. Young listened intently as a song which he hadn’t heard before lazily drifted over the airwaves.
“My life was empty until I met you,
But shattered and lonely, you made it brand new.
Now when I have trouble, your Word lights my way,
And gives me the strength to confront each new day.”
In a rare act, Eddie turned off the radio and sat there, transfixed. Still conflicted, he scratched his head for a long time, mulling over what he had just heard. He wondered whether this could be coincidence. Or maybe, just maybe, he had been wrong. Had God given him the sign that he sought?
To Be Continued …
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
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