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Angel Among Us - by TL Gray

Angel Among Us By T. L. Gray © 2000  It was the oddest thing. My father, Karl, God rest his soul, was just an ordinary man. A family man, who worked hard to provide for his family. He lived in a modest house. Paid his taxes. And tried to teach his children right from wrong. After nearly 30 years at the L & N Railroad, the local shops closing set him adrift. Unemployed, depressed, with two children to support still at home, he, being a man of strong work ethics, began taking on any job he could find to stay afloat. During this trying time in his life he took to saying daily prayers—though he was not overly zealous in the sense of the word. Worse, had just recovered from a recent heart attack and was in the process of trying to acquire disability. This ordinary, down to earth man who had always given part of his paycheck to a charity for mountain children, suddenly began—without knowing how or why—performing miracles. Posh, you say! But it’s true. Now I don’t mean he laid hands on people and they were suddenly cured. It was through prayer that he performed—with God’s grace—these amazing accomplishments. He loved children, and so when he heard of several couples who had tried for months, even years, to conceive, he offered to add them to his prayer list. At first he prayed for people he knew; family, friends, friends of friends, etc. Soon these couples began coming back to him and thanking him for his prayers—they had conceived. My father was both thrilled and surprised. Though he believed in the power of prayer and was sure it had in some way helped, he never really believed it was he who had facilitated these conceptions. Regardless, word spread of the success of Karl’s prayer list for childless couples, and before he knew it complete strangers were asking for his help. His list became so long that he was spending a good part of his prayer time asking God to have mercy on these distraught couples. He only asked that the couple let him know when/if they’re prayers were answered—simply because he liked hearing the good news, and he could mark them off his ever growing list while adding others. My mother began noticing that all the names on the list of petitioners had conceived. Every single one. She pointed this out to my father, who would simply smile. Coincidence, you say. With the advances in medical technology today it was bound to happen that some of these couples would manage to conceive. True. Perhaps. Is it coincidence that each and every couple he prayed for attained their goal? You might think so, but then there’s the story of Mary Jude. Mary Jude had tried for years to conceive. She’d been tested for fertility, as had her husband. She tried fertility pills with no luck. Exploratory surgery revealed scar tissue, and so Mary Jude had surgery to correct the problem. Later, doctors tried inserting collected sperm from her husband directly into her womb, with no success. From there the couple advanced to collecting eggs from Mary Jude for artificial insemination. This expensive procedure added even more stress. The procedure failed each time. Mary Jude had tried everything from charting ovulation, to taking her temperature during her fertile period, to subjecting herself to surgical procedures—and still nothing. She heard of my father’s success in praying for childless couples through a friend of the family, and as a last resort, appealed to them to have him add her name put on the list. Her finances were now in turmoil because of the repeated doctor visits, consultations, and attempts at artificial insemination, and so she had no other recourse than to hope my father could help. What did she have to lose? Mary Jude, as it happens—because the list was growing so long--was the last one to be added. In no particular order, the names were being checked off as couples conceived. Still, Mary Jude waited. She’d given up on doctors and tests and hospitals—resigning herself to dealing with the fact she might never be able to have a child of her own. Eventually, the list dwindled down until Mary Jude’s was the only remaining name. Mary Jude began to lose hope. For months my father continued to pray for Mary Jude, sending encouragement through friends that she was not to give up. He didn’t understand why his prayers for each couple on his list had been answered, but he’d begun to accept the phenomenon for what it was—a miracle. He began to feel personally responsible for Mary Jude’s continued grief. The thought of failing her became unbearable. It consumed him. He put other things aside to give Mary Jude’s plight more attention. The hours he spent in prayer left him feeling physically drained and mentally exhausted. Doubt began to set in, but he fought against it. He couldn’t fail. He couldn’t let Mary Jude slip through his fingers. Meanwhile, Mary Jude was considering adoption. She couldn’t afford more attempts at artificial insemination. Each failure drove her deeper into debt and depression. By now the whole family had heard of Mary Jude’s story and they, too, waited with anticipation for the outcome. How long would it take? Would Karl, like Mary Jude, begin to lose hope? Had Karl’s "good luck" streak come to an end? Would Mary Jude and her husband become the only couple on the list left hanging? Several weeks later my father received the news. Mary Jude had conceived—and through natural means, no less, despite the slim to none chances medical experts gave her. Till the day he died, my father was in awe of the fact every couple he prayed for had conceived, as were those around him who were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. He was, and continues to be, known as an advocate of children. After his death, I learned he had volunteered at my aunt’s daycare center on occasion. He never once mentioned it in casual conversation. But then, he was an unpretentious man. Plain. Ordinary. Or was he?

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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 1578

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