It’s amazing how strange life is sometimes. Eight days ago I wrote about how much I enjoy surprising people I care about with unexpected visits. An unwritten prompt for that post was the fact that my parents were in San Francisco at the time for a brief stop on a cruise and I’d tried to figure out a way to drive down there and surprise them.
My plans didn’t work out, and I missed the opportunity to see them in San Francisco. Or so I thought. When my mom called the next morning to tell me my dad was in the hospital, it wasn’t long before I was in my car headed to the Bay Area.
This wasn’t exactly the way I hoped it would go, but it was very exciting to get to see my parents for a couple days. I took my mom away from the hospital and we enjoyed some touristy site-seeing while dad lay in pain in a hospital bed. We’re loving people like that.
The craziness of this past week has really helped remind me about priorities and the unpredictability of life. When my mom called me on Monday, I was fully expecting her to tell me about the fun they were having in San Francisco before they were about to leave to spend the next two weeks on a cruise ship traveling through Central America and the Panama Canal.
I was expecting to not be able to talk to my parents again for almost two weeks. I was not expecting to see them eight hours later.
Thankfully, the doctors were able to treat my dad enough to calm his gall bladder and ease the pain enough for my parents to fly home. While it seems sad to think that my parents could be partaking in the luxuries of a cruise and instead were in a hospital and are now home, if my dad’s gall bladder had flared up even one day later they would have been out of the country for two weeks without access to American medical care.
I’ve long believed that good things can come from bad situations, and last week really supported that notion for me. I am trusting that both my parents will be okay in the coming weeks (my mom ended up growing ill while we were in San Francisco), and as I joked with them when I dropped them off at the airport (one at a time since my car only seats two) they should have known I’d find a way to sneak into the vacation pictures.
It is when things go wrong that we really discover the character of those around us. I posted a brief comment on my Facebook fellowship group page requesting prayer for my dad as soon as I heard he was in the hospital, and I was almost immediately barraged by countless friends offering their prayer and support.
My whole family stepped up to assist in any way they could (including hotel reservations), and after a couple days I found myself saying goodbye to my parents and sending them home where my big sister was ready to pick them up and take care of them going forward.
It was a long drive home after a tiring but all-in-all enjoyable two days. I returned to my busy schedule at work the next day and won’t have a chance to be up north to see my parents complete their recovery. Even as I’d love to drive up there and surprise them, I really can’t see a chance of that happening before Christmas.
I love surprise visits. Last week I learned that sometimes those surprise visits are not my idea, nor are they really anyone’s. But in those moments, terrible and horrifying situations can take a turn for the better. Some days you unsuccessfully try to plan a surprise trip to San Francisco, and the next day you find yourself surprised that you’re on your way there. Life is amazing, even in its tough moments, and for that I’m thankful.