A group of grown men is huddled in the middle of the court. They are black, white, Hispanic, short, tall, strong, skinny, religious, non-religious, single, married. That doesn't matter. They stand together to pray. Someone offers a quick but sincere prayer for their friend. Some of the men cry.
Two days ago, Jon was playing basketball at our gym. He plays with the same group of men, three times a week every morning. As usual, the game was heated, fouls were abundant. One player fouled another player, "Q", going for the lay-up and for some reason, though there was plenty of time and space, Q never put his hands up to prevent himself from running into the padded wall behind the hoop. Jon was sitting right there, stretching, getting ready to play. Q hit the wall at full force, bent over, with the top of his head and neck taking the full impact. He collapsed and in a moment, began to seizure in Jon's lap. Jon got someone to call 911 and tried to help Q as much as he could.
The paramedics arrived quickly, got the situation under control and began testing his limbs.
Q couldn't feel anything beneath his neck.
The man who did the initial fouling was against the wall, crying. Q was his close friend. He called Q's wife to tell her what had happened and offered to watch their two children while she headed to the hospital.
As Q left in the ambulance, the men huddled together. These are men who, from Jon's descriptions, spew profanities from their mouths, yell and scream at each other, and occasionally play dirty basketball. Yet, they gathered together in the middle of the court to pray, standing shoulder to shoulder with arms interlocked.
It seems, that no matter what your background or lifestyle, no matter what level of religiosity you claim, there are times when you cannot deny our need for our Heavenly Father. No matter what circumstances we are in, when we need Him, He is there, accessible. And it amazed me that a knowledge of our Heavenly Father could bring these very different men together on a basketball court to pray for comfort and for their friend Q's well-being.
Unfortunately, Q is not doing well. In the past two days, he has been on the verge of coma several times. He currently needs a ventilator and breathing tube to breathe. He has regained some feeling in his arms but nothing anywhere else. He will undergo surgery today that will hopefully help him breathe more on his own, but the situation is very critical.
Jon went to ball today and these men started their morning game huddled together again in prayer for Q. It is such a heartbreaking, yet powerful image, to see how man can so easily be humbled and how much we all need and rely on our Father.
While this is a terrible tragedy and we will continue to pray and fast for Q's recovery, I am grateful for the reminder that I know where I come from. That I know my Divine heritage. That we have a loving, compassionate Father in Heaven who loves us and whose heart breaks with us as we are humbled. And that we can have access to His comfort and love through such a simple thing as prayer.