Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In the Middle

Today will be my last update on the status of my father-in-law, Posey Steele, unless there is dramatic news to share. It looks like there is a long and winding road ahead of him and his family and friends...

One of my favorite teachers in high school taught history, and his name was John Brown. Seriously. We all kidded him that he was in the witness protection program because that couldn't be his real name. Mr. Brown was a short, stocky man with a tremendous sense of humor. He made history fun, and I count him high on the list of reasons I still love history today. His lectures were interesting, and he brought out facts that were not always obvious. And since this was back in the dark ages when teachers actually wrote their own tests, you were responsible for knowing everything he said. People would take notes like crazy when he spoke, because there was a test every Friday. I remember how distressed some of my classmates would get at the sheer volume of information he would spew each week. Those of us who were really paying attention to the situation knew such stress was unnecessary. Every Thursday Mr. Brown would spent the last 15 minutes of class reviewing, asking questions to give us examples of what would be on the test the next day. Most weeks those review questions were almost word for word the actual test questions. If you took notes on Thursday, you could spend the rest of the week enjoying the humor and adventure of his lectures. But so many people never noticed, and Mr. Brown played the "difficulty" of the tests for all it was worth. Every Thursday class ended with the same mini-lecture. "Big test tomorrow. You guys need to study hard tonight, but don't let it get you down. Some of you will do well and some of you won't. But here's something to take with you throughout your life- hope for the best, expect the worst, and be satisfied with something in the middle." That was some 37 years ago, and obviously it has stuck with me.

When my lovely wife Marilyn flew to NC on Saturday to see her father in the hospital, she went expecting the worst. We were both afraid that if she didn't go immediately she might not get a chance to say goodbye. The situation was that dire. The fall he took Friday night had done damage to his brain and there was a pooling of blood in his head. He was in a light coma. He was not expected to survive for very long. Marilyn arrived expecting the worst. And while there were a few positive signs, we knew that Posey was now in the hands of God and the doctors.

Then Sunday was a very good day. He was more alert, his eyes were open, he recognized some people and was speaking more. He ate a bit and just generally seemed to be improving. When I spoke with Marilyn there was a new hope in her voice. What had felt like it might be the end seemed to be turning into the beginning of a long road. A difficult road to be certain, but one that had hope. The prayers of our many friends were being lifted and we felt encouraged that God was at work in Posey Steele.

And then yesterday was a rough day. No details are needed; you just need to know that he was struggling and not as alert. There was more pain. Marilyn arrived home last night just as unsure of the future as when she had left on Saturday. There was permanent damage done by the fall. The extent is unknown. The ability of his 80+ year old body to recover is unknown. But he is still with us, and he is still fighting. His amazing wife Marie and daughter Carol are by his side. He has a wonderful church family that will support them all. So while we hope and pray for the best, we live with the knowledge that the worst is still a real possibility as well. The worst for us, anyway. I'm sure Posey would tell you that going to be with Jesus is not the worst thing that could happen! But in the meantime, here we are. In the middle. And given the events of the past few days, I'd have to say again that Mr. Brown got it right. We are thankful to be here. So we ask for your continued prayers for Posey, the family and the medical staff. Those prayers continue to make a difference. Our God can do miraculous things.

One more thing about Mr. Brown. Every test had a bonus question, and the question was always to predict the final score of some collegiate sporting event for the following day. You didn't have to get the score right to get the bonus points. All you had to do was pick his alma mater, Appalachian State University, to win. Even if they weren't playing. And many people never figured that out either. Life is so much easier when you pay attention. And when you understand that God is in control. Love you guys.

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous7/29/2014

    Love you moe! :)

    1. Love you too my friend!

  2. Having been on vacation and away from the computer, I didn't realize the extent of your father-in-law's injury. I'm so sorry to know this and will certainly continue praying for him.

    1. Thanks. He actually took another turn for the worse since this was written, but please keep praying for Marilyn's momand the family.


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