I had another post all planned, but then yesterday happened and it just didn’t seem right.
Recently I heard about this guy named Paul Coakley who was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had metastasizedÂ throughout his body. He got his diagnosis roughly a month ago. A husband and father of four children (his beautiful wife is seven months pregnant), this guy was fighting for his life with everything he had.
I didn’t know Paul, but my brother went to school with him at Franciscan University at Steubenville. Paul taught him how to drive stick shift. We also have several mutual friends like Ben and Lori Gehl, who are local and awesome and played on our kickball team this past summer.
It seemed like everybody loved this guy and, from all the stories I kept hearing, I could see why.
How glorious is that? I wish I could have seen it happen with my own eyes.
Anyway, Dan and I were really touched by Paul’s story. We were praying for them along with so many of you. We couldn’t stop thinking about his dear, beautiful wife and children. I would think of her and just start crying and praying.
Isn’t that how the Body of Christ works? The heart and the kidney have never seen each other, never met… yet they need each other. And they work together in the body.
Sunday night I fell asleep thinking of and praying for the Coakleys. Praying for a miracle. And then, at about four in the morning, I woke up to a repetitive sound of someone singing.
One of my children was sitting on their bed and SINGING.
Singing a song.
At four in the morning.
Because WHY NOT.
Let me tell you something about me: I am a yeller. I am. “Know thyself” they say, and let me tell you, I do. I’m working on it, but it’s HARD BECAUSE THE FEELING OF YELLING IS VERY THERAPEUTIC, CAN I GET AN AMEN?!
Until you afterwards, when you feel like a giant turd.
So when I heard that singing, I was automatically poised to yell.
And so I did. I prayed for Paul.
Another child woke up and said “hi mom.”
I barely even flinched.
I prayed for Paul.
Then Mia woke up screaming and crying, and would not be consoled.
She wanted to go downstairs. I didn’t want to get up. Dan took her.
But then after sighing for three long minutes, I got my selfish arse up and went down there and walked her around and held her until she pooped her brains out.
And I prayed for Paul. And Ann. And their children. And all their family and friends.
Turns out we weren’t the only ones getting woken up. My friend Sarah was woken up.
My friend Jenny was woken up.
And they weren’t the only ones. People were waking up all over the place.
But the thing is, it’s like we all KNEW we were supposed to be upÂ to pray for Paul.
Friends and complete strangers…all praying for Paul. Praying for the Coakleys.
Now isn’t that something? How God brings us together? How one life could touch so many people?
Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to pray for our brother. Thank you Paul, for allowing us the privilege of praying for you before God took you home after one of the most valiant fights the world could ever witness.
Thank you Ann for your beautiful witness, your amazing selfless generosity. We pray you and your children will be surrounded with love at every moment. We pray that for Paul’s mom and dad, siblings, family and friends.
My friend Donna remarked recently just how much every life matters, and every encounter with another person changes you forever. For good or bad, it changes you. You can never be the same when you encounter another person. As a stranger, I can say that this encounter with the Coakleys – even from afar – has changed me for the better.
Please go here and read this incredible tribute from Mary of Let Love Be Sincere.