It was 5:30 a.m. on the morning of Paul’s surgery when our two sons knocked on the door to come say morning prayers with him. The dark of night still lingered as they lit the room with their voices.
Prayer and meditation was only tangential to my upbringing, but in the family Paul and I raised, we have brought it into our home, around our table, between held hands. Prayer can be arms around our shoulders as meditation is the air we breathe. In this time of healing, when every hour brings new information, I am grateful for access to both.
During the hours of Paul’s surgery, I spent almost two hours listening to meditative music. It helped me relax in a time of worry, and connected me with the Divine. I wrote the following poem afterwards:
My heart opens to breath.
Your heart opens to surgery.
Our hearts marry the universe
sparkling gold glitter around your body
and dark red, purple colors in the cave of your heart.
A man appears from the Peruvian jungle;
white teeth, wide smile,
bearing good news without words.
A package arrives in the universe of mind.
“For your father.”
Hmmm! How did he get here?
He is here, along with all who you love.
Sweet, dark, purple love,
a baby in the midst of your heart
is born anew in you.
Eternal light within the dark
Liquid sound, soothed by exacting fingers
know what to do to fix your valve.
My heart opens into yours
like water, tumbling together
into the heart of death and life.
Many hours later when the surgeon called to talk to us, I asked him if Paul had said a blessing for him and his team. This had been his plan. “Yes, and it was very moving to all of us,” said his surgeon. “In fact he gave us a little speech…He talked about the blessing of each of us and our skill; about the miracle of the human body, the beauty of nature and the band of angels whom he believed were embodying each of us in the room.”
Paul had prayed with his boys in the morning and had meditated before being wheeled in for surgery. It all contributed to a positive outcome. After a much longer and more arduous surgery than anyone imagined, he is stronger with every breath.