I was tidying up the house when my parents called with the news. Mom’s voice was calm and steady as she spoke, but the uncertainty of the prognosis unnerved me. The laundry list of house chores suddenly seemed trivial as I learned a lifelong family friend was fighting for his life.

Bill had gone into cardiac arrest multiple times from an arrhythmia. He was down for a total of 35 minutes over two and half hours. Miraculously, each time his heart started back again,

and again,

and again.

He was stabilized and, most importantly, he was still with us in this world.

There had been no warning signs. Bill is a doctor by profession, fit according to health standards, and lives an active life.

With my hometown some 5,000 miles away, I felt isolated and uncomfortably displaced from the crisis.

The Lord has put more hardships atop the shoulders of my neighbors — more than I can even fathom coping with. I will strive to find a way to turn pity into admiration, for what use is it to send pity back at the world.

– Erica Goros, The Daisy Chain

After I hung up the phone I tried to return to my normal evening routine, but found my thoughts returning to the ICU unit.  I sent a jumbled text message to Bill’s daughter, my friend, then stared anxiously at the phone waiting for her response and further updates from my parents.

That night, I did not sleep. Childhood memories spent with Bill and his family kept me tossing and turning.

He is a husband, a brother, a father, a grandfather.

He is a man of great faith with a fighting spirit.

He is a family man, an evangelist, and a healer.

He is a cowboy who enjoys spending time with just his horses and his thoughts.

He is loved by his community, church family, and work colleagues.

I meditated on these thoughts, and prayed for him to wake up whole and healed.

The heart of a person only beats when it’s surrounded by blood, by family.

– Erica Goros, The Daisy Chain

Around the age of ten, I slipped out of the saddle while riding a horse at Bill’s ranch. I can still see the image of the horse jumping over me as I lay frozen with fear in the field. Bill picked me up and dusted me off. With no sustained injuries, aside from a bruised ego, he looked me straight in the eyes and told me I had to get back on the horse.

He sat me back in the saddle and led the horse to the barn with me trembling in the seat. When we got back to the barn he explained that he had made me get back on the horse so I would know there was nothing to fear. Bill was right. I was never afraid of riding after that fall.

Two days later Bill woke from the induced coma. A week later, a scan confirmed there was no damage to his brain and he was moved out of ICU.  Each day he continues to gain strength and is more alert.

It is my turn to put Bill back into the saddle. Ahead of him is a physical therapy regime which will test his endurance, patience, and perseverance. It is unknown if it will take Bill weeks or months to recover.

What I know for sure, Bill and his family’s faith and love for one another will carry them through any challenges ahead. For my part, at the top of my prayer list remains the hope that my favorite cowboy will ride again.