Summer 2011 was the hottest in Oklahoma history. On Saturday, July 16, my husband Patrick announced he was installing a new solar-powered attic fan on the garage roof. He was quite proud of the deal he got on the unit and couldn’t wait to get started. That morning I wrote in my journal, “Please keep Patrick safe.” Even as I wrote it I thought, What an odd word, “safe.”
By 8 a.m. it was already 90 degrees and climbing. All morning Patrick was up and down the ladder. After lunch only four more screws remained; the scorching sun was now at 105 degrees. I took a nap, as later we were having our annual ice cream social at Unity Church of Christianity in Tulsa, where I am minister.
In a heartbeat, life can change. At some point during my nap, Patrick went up the ladder and realized he had the wrong drill bit. Taking off his glove to loosen the bit, without thought, he put his bare hand on the now nearly liquid asphalt shingles. He jerked back at the searing heat and fell ten feet to the concrete below.
“Patrick,” I shouted, “It’s time to get ready,” but there was no response. I opened the front door and found him lying on the concrete. I was so shocked my first words were, “What are you looking for?” It never occurred to me he had fallen! He responded weakly, “I’m so hot, please hose me off.” How long he had laid there in the sun, we don’t know. He said, “Don’t try to lift me. I can’t move. Call the paramedics.”
As they put Patrick in the ambulance, he reminded me, “Take the ice cream to the kids, they’ll be expecting it.” On my way to the hospital, I stopped at the church and told them briefly of Patrick’s accident. Later, I learned they called Silent Unity on our behalf and prayed together.
The following Sunday, Rev. Lynne Brown, vice president of Silent Unity, was scheduled to speak at our church. I had been teaching the children about calling Silent Unity, so they gathered around the speakerphone and listened while the prayer minister prayed for Patrick. The children then called Patrick and recited The Prayer of Faith to him … “God is my help in every need ….” I’m not sure how much Patrick remembers of that moment, but those little voices still ring in my ear.
During Lynne’s visit, she left a gift for us—a small night light from Silent Unity with the inscription: The Light That Shines For You. I placed it in our living room, and it brought me comfort. I knew it represented 120 years of unbroken prayer. While Patrick was in the hospital, it seemed a beacon of light in our empty home; it gave me strength.
After almost three weeks, Patrick came home, but could not walk, having fractured his pelvis in the fall. While his recovery has been slow, Patrick’s injuries were not as severe as they might have been, and he is well on the mend. The congregation came forward in every possible way and that little light continues to burn day and night, a visual token of the great Light that shines for us all.