Then there was Fidel and his intent to restore strength to a waning life force. His little “Carmelita” lay still in her intensive care hospital bed for nearly a month barely cheating death after a respiratory illness took her down and rendered her unconscious, almost overnight. Carmen is actually not little, but she is a young and, by all accounts, healthy woman. So one day in October 2009, when she went to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath, being sent home with a prescription was all that made sense for the mother of four, who had as little time to be sick as she did for anything else which pertained to her. However, within 24 hours, she was back under a physician’s care and within 24-48 hours after that, she was unconscious, breathing through tubes and high on the list of priorities of the attending infectious disease doctor. Now understand that with there being so many people who love Carmen, there was an immediate overflow of concern, but as time and schedules would have it, much of the visiting traffic tapered off after a couple of weeks. I would imagine some people became discouraged. I would guess others just had other responsibilities. But every day Fidel, Carmen’s dad continued to show up for her. Every day he left his home and entered the English-speaking world armed with his thick Spanish accent, very broken English and his Santo Biblia… his Holy Bible.
Fidel took his seat each afternoon at Carmen’s ICU bedside where he prayed and read from his Bible. If the long trip from the inner city to a suburban hospital, including multiple metro bus transfers, was not intentional enough for Fidel’s soul to speak, a message of life, love, renewal, and recovery to Carmen’s soul, his gentle singing of her name must have been. “Carmelita….Carmelita….Carmelita”, each and every afternoon, after the dust had settled and the crowd had gone home discouraged, Fidel showed up. His love and connectivity became a gentle but persistent tidal wave which brushed up against the jagged edges of Carmen’s circumstances. She fought her way back to consciousness and she returned to the center of her children’s world. And Fidel, with a job well done, pulled the plug on his proverbial lighthouse by which he sat watch over Carmen's soul for nearly a month. Each life returned and settled back into its normal routine, with hardly any evidence that Fidel had labored so hard on behalf of Carmen. As usual, one never knows just who is doing the praying, but Fidel’s commitment to the care and keeping of Carmen was monolithic. He stood guard. He interjected his strength where Carmen had none. He was her lighted bridge back to wellness. His contribution to her life condition came through his willingness to show up, stand watch and be the light. Her need became his priority. His actions were purposeful and persistent to the degree that they became his petition. Fidel’s prayer was answered.