Now and ever

From Sean. 10 July, 2010. 8:00pm pst.

Steve as I type is having a wonderful time and conversation with Patti Harris, a Council member of the Union Church of Manila. She re-routed a trip to Portland in order to see Steve. She is kind, and wise, and comes bearing love from the entire church in Manila.

Michelle is having a blessed reunion with the boys at the house. Steve’s parents, John and Darlene, flew with the boys from Ohio, arriving in Seattle tonight at 6pm. Michelle will spend her first night away from Steve in the embrace and joyful chaos of her boys.  They’ll all come to the hospital tomorrow; the boys will finally be with their papa.

Steve is also really looking forward to watching the World Cup final with everyone… with his parents, his boys, the hospital staff; it will be a full room here at Harborview.

Speaking of the World Cup: in honor of the fact that Steve was up in the wheelchair for a **record six hours** today, I have vuvuzela-ed his website: click here and turn up your speakers.

There is other wonderful news from today that I’ll let Michelle share, but one thought to bookend this post from several weeks ago: As (this) tragedy makes things and people transparent, in this vigil by Steve’s bedside one thing continues to vulnerably reveal itself: gratitude.

Frequently–and particularly in the midst of extraordinary suffering–platitudes can be, well, irrelevant. Or even dissociative. Nevertheless, I’ll risk another platitude: whenever gratitude is felt and expressed, fear dissolves.

Here on the 4th floor of Harborview there has been crushing grief; sacred weeping. There has been laughter (Steve often manages to break through the surface of pain to breathe in a smile or a laugh before plunging back into the struggle). There has been uncertainty. And kindness.

And there is constant prayer: prayer saturating every moment; prayer not as mere words, but also the kind of prayer where instead of you praying the prayer; the prayer prays you. Sighs and groans too deep for words; the Spirit intercedes and prays you.

And, gratitude.

Fear-dispelling gratitude. Steve and Michelle are grieving losses of such immense variety; and they are both… grateful. For each other. For their children. For family… and friends. For the staff here at Harborview. For the view. For simple needs met by unexpected people. For tears.

For you.

So tonight, while Michelle is away from the hospital and reuniting with the boys; while Steve is now (I’m writing this after many pauses) sleeping and snoring; I’ll end this post with a prayer of gratitude for the One who is everywhere present; filling all things; facing us all:

In 1940 a Russian Orthodox priest, very shortly before his death in a Soviet concentration camp, wrote the following service of prayer.

The Akathist of Thanksgiving.
Ikos 6.

When swift lightning illumines the night, how pitiful and miserable our earthly candles seem. So also, deceitful earthly joys become colorless and dark when Your light bursts forth in the soul. My soul rushes toward You and my heart yearns for You.

Glory to You
beyond the limit of the highest human dream!
Glory to You
for our thirst for You.
Glory to You
Who inspires in us dissatisfaction with mortal things.
Glory to You
who clothes us in light.
Glory to You
Who has doomed to annihilation every kind of evil.

Glory to You for Your revelation, for the blessedness of feeling You and living You.
Glory to You, O God, now and ever and unto the ages of ages!

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  • Tiffany Megargee

    “Sighs and groans too deep for words; the Spirit intercedes and prays for you.” I have thought of this, prayed this so many times in the past three weeks…
    I am taking in the waves of gratitude along with the sighs and groans…
    All my love- Tiffany

  • Shehuy93

    Sean…thank you. That was truly anointed and powerful. I feel truly BLESSED by your words, as though a benediction has been pronounced upon all of us who have taken in your words…and it was truly a benediction. I know it's just part of the manifestation of the Lord's Spirit who is strong and present with you all in that sacred place and in this sacred time of suffering for His glory.

  • Mary Caldwell

    No world cup games will be the same without vuvuzelas! We are tooting ours tonight in the wee hours of Manila as we host Debra and Darren, dear friends of Steve and Michelle to watch the final together. We will toot a few blasts in honor of Steve and lift up prayers together. It has been an incredible privelage to be present in Johannesberg and everywhere we went, during the first 3 weeks of the cup- and watch a whole nation who has had such a history of pain and hurt- come together and celebrate.
    We too will continue to celebrate a God who always is a master of healing, reconciliation, unity and joy and works those into our lives.

  • Bebeth_329

    Hi Sean,

    Thank you for posting updates from time to time. We rejoice for every detail of progress, giving God all the glory and honor for HIs wonderful of second life to our dear Ptr. Steve. We uphold you all in our prayers…