A Silent Prayer

While standing in the middle of the street, I waved goodbye to the kids as they left to go back to their homes. Still waving until they were out of sight, I then turned back toward the house (with a hanky in my hand), wiping the tears away as I walked.

I stopped on the sidewalk and looked up at the big house. It was too big for one person. But, they just didn’t understand the memories that were inside. My wife had been gone for about five years, yet, everything remained the same as it had been before she left.

(Sitting by her side, I told my wife that I would like to stay to see our grandchildren grown and married, maybe a great grandchild or two. That way, when I did leave to go to her, I could tell her all about the family.)

It seemed that the only thing I ever did anymore was to drive downtown, on Sundays, and go to our church. After two years of going to church, this Sunday was going to change my life.

When the sermon was over, the pastor said, “I have a challenge for those who are interested. The local nursing home is looking for someone to go out, on Sunday afternoons, and play the piano for the folks living there. If you are interested, please come and see me after church.”

Eager to participate, I went to the pastor and told him that I would like that job as it would get me out of the house and, maybe, help me meet new friends. The pastor gave me the name of the lady I needed to contact. Excited, I could not wait to get back to the house and start playing the piano.

Once home, I changed clothes, poured myself some tea, and sat down at the piano. Then, as I slowly raised the lid, I realized that the piano had not been played since Mother had been gone.

My fingers were not as fast as they used to be and, sometimes, they were not hitting the right notes. But after several songs, my fingers began to loosen up and move up and down the keyboard with ease. I was ready.

Going to the nursing home, that Sunday afternoon, I met the lady in charge. She showed me around, introducing me to the folks who lived there.

As I went into one room, the lady told me that this young girl had been hit by a drunk driver. Her name was Cindy Lou. She was about sixteen years old, with long blonde hair that hung to her waist. Cindy Lou sat in a wheelchair, not knowing anybody. The doctors had said that she would be there for the rest of her life. Her mother would not come to see her.

I walked over to the Cindy Lou, introduced myself, slowly lifted her hand, and kissed the back of it. I told her my name and said that I was glad to meet her.

Sunday after Sunday, the folks, there, would come out and listen while I played the piano for them. One little old lady, named Betty Mae, told me that I needed to practice if I intended to come and play for them.

None of the elderly folks there sang along with the music. Instead, each of them sang their own song. I did not mind one bit, as they were enjoying themselves and clapping along to the music.

Sunday after Sunday, I would go to Cindy Lou’s room to see how she was doing. She never came out to listen to me play, but just sat there, in her wheelchair, with a blank stare in her eyes. Though I would gently kiss her hand and tell her that she was looking very pretty, she never smiled or even nodded her head.

At church, the Sunday after my first visit to the nursing home, I told the congregation about the young girl and requested earnest prayer for her.

When I reached the nursing home, at about 7:00 P.M., I saw an ambulance there ~ with its lights flashing. The first person I thought about was Cindy. So, I quickly made my way to her room. Her parents were there, as well as the doctor.

When I asked the head nurse what was wrong with Cindy Lou, she just looked at me with tears in her eyes.

“No, she’s not dead,” I whispered. “She can’t be ... ”

The nurse shook her head, “No. There was a miracle performed tonight. But, nobody can understand how or why.”

As I walked into the room, I saw Cindy Lou standing. She was smiling at everyone and talking up a storm. When she saw me, she quickly ran over to me and threw her arms around my neck. She said that I was the one who had brought her back to life.

“No, dear, it wasn’t me,” I told her. “The man upstairs was looking out for you. Give your thanks to Him.”

Everyone cleared the way so she and her parents could leave the room. Cindy Lou started to walk out the door, then stopped and ran back to me, and hugged my neck. She kissed me on the back of my hand, smiled, and gave me a piece of paper. “Read this after I leave,” she said.

Cindy Lou went to the door, then turned and threw me a kiss, and waved goodbye. Then, she was gone.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, with tears in my eyes, I slowly opened the folded letter that Cindy Lou had written to me.

Somewhere, somebody’s silent prayer was answered. Sometimes, one person’s silent prayer is heard louder than a congregation of people, in a church, praying together. Someone’s silent prayer was answered, but maybe not entirely fulfilled. He has His reasons.

Keep up your silent prayer, because it just might be yours that He answers.

P. S. Mine was.

© 1997 by Robert H. Gilbert, Jr. [email protected]

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