Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Do You Explain It? - Eleanor Shepherd

Three years after his accident, our son John was able to return to Harvard Business School to complete his studies for his MBA. Everything was falling into place. His accessible housing had been arranged. The move was organized. The only outstanding issue was his attendant care in Boston. Because of his quadriplegia, he has to have a caregiver come every morning to help with the personal care that is part of his morning routine.

We were on vacation in Maine and New York and most of the time I could be found with my cell phone at my ear. I was trying to find an agency that would be able to provide the necessary attendant care. We had been given lists of agencies of nurses and health care workers who provided that kind of service, but I was having no success at rounding up anyone who was able to take on the task.

I was given the number of a fellow named Pete. He was the one who apparently could find a caregiver when nobody else could. I tried Pete and although he gave me a few leads to try, success still eluded me. My hopes rose and fell. I would reach an agency and they would think that they might be able to help us. Then they would investigate further and call me back to apologize that they were not able to provide anyone. What was I going to do? As the days went on and no solution was in sight, I was becoming desperate. Unless he had an attendant, John would not be able to move to Boston.

It was now three days before his arrival in Boston. We were going directly to Boston from New York to help him move into his apartment and get him set up. Still there was no attendant booked. Would we have to call the whole thing off?

My husband, Glen had a call with his boss, Christine about some business issue. They resolved the question they were discussing and then as the call was concluding, Christine asked, “What’s wrong?”

She heard the anxiety in Glen’s voice and knew something was troubling him. He told her about the difficulty we were having trying to find a caregiver for John.

“Can I pray with you,” she asked. When Glen responded affirmatively, she prayed right there on the phone. Of course, we had been praying ourselves for some breakthrough, but thus far, nothing had happened. Nevertheless, the support of her prayer gave us reassurance that somehow things would work out.

Clutching my phone to dial one more agency, I tried to keep up with Glen as we headed off to the train station at Suffern at 8:30 on Thursday morning. We decided to go to downtown New York, for some sightseeing. Enroute, I reached the agency and received another negative response.

We had to change trains at Penn Station and just as I stepped out of the train at 9:15 my phone rang. On the line was a company I had been talking to the day before. They had not been able to help me. However, for some reason they had gone through their files again. This time they discovered that they had someone that could take on a client in Cambridge and they would be able to provide the care we needed. I wept with joy and relief.

The question this situation raises is why, after all of my frantic efforts, did we finally find someone who could provide attendant care? There are several possible explanations.

Perhaps it was my sheer persistence and the odds were that if I called enough people, eventually I would find someone. That is possible.

Another alternative is that initially when I spoke to the agency there just happened to be some kind of administrative mix-up. Really they did have someone all along. They had just not been able to discover it earlier, when I asked.

One possibility is that this was a direct answer to the prayer of Christine as well as others, who were aware of the situation and praying for us.

The answer depends on your perspective. All of these things may have been factors. As with so many situations in life we can choose whether or not we see God as part of the equation. He is there and He is not silent. We choose whether or not we acknowledge His presence and His activity.

Eleanor Shepherd


Peter Black said...

What a breathless journey against the calendar for securing an attendant for John. I felt it, and also got a sense of the relief and joy you and Glen and John must have experienced when the answer finally came.
Reminds me of what others have said, "God's seldom early, but He's never late!" Hmm.
Thank you for posting the lovely picture of John. Now I can put a face to future mention of him.

Marian said...

I believe God answered your prayer and your persistence. The point is you were looking to Him for the answer.

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