Greetings to all! Thank you all for you of your thoughts and prayers, Ali and I continue to lean into them, sometime in minutes, hours, morning, afternoon, nights or whole days we lean into them harder. I am back at the hotel for the night, my mind is mentally exhausted and my body is struggling this evening. I type this message as a group of people gather in the center of our hometown of Rayne, Louisiana to pray for our family as we walk this unknown path. If you went tonight to the rosary or prayed a rosary at home, at school, in your car, on a plane, train, a bus, well you get the picutre, We thank you and I know for me I am leaning HARD into them tonight! I truly feel like Ali and I make a good team, beacause whenever she is falling apart I have the strength and whenever I am falling apart, she sends me back to the hotel, wait a minute! Totally kidding, God, really seems to balance us out in terms of breakdowns and strong moments. Again last night we had an unexpected visitor, another disciple, showed up, RANDOMLY! We were sitting in the section of the waiting room that we always sit and I saw a gentleman and a young lady walk in, they kinda meandered around and then left. I found it a little odd, the ICU waiting room is not typically somewhere where people just kinda stumble in and then leave. A while later the "Black Phone" rang, I walked over, answered it, and the receptionist said, Mr. Cantrell, there is a man here who would like to go upstairs and pray with Cate, I said, I don't think so, hold him RIGHT THERE, I'll be there in a minute. I walked toward the front desk and saw a man sitting on the couch, he stood up and said, Mr. Cantrell? I said Yes, He introduced himself and we sat down. He began to tell me the story of how he had gotten there that night. A gentleman from Louisiana had called him, and told him that he had to go check this Blog out online, that there was this Baby girl that really needed prayer. So, the man told his friend who had called, let's pray right now, so they prayed then. Well, yesterday morning, the man from Louisiana called again, asking if this guy had gotten a chance to go online and look at the blog, to which the gentleman replied, no my internet is still down. He said, then then Holy Spirit told him that he need to go and pray with this little girl or her family. So, he found out that we were at Texas Children's, got in his car and drove all the way from Victoria, TX, which is two hours from Houston! He did not have our last name, what floor cate was on, he just drove. He made his way to the waiting room we were in somehow and then receptionist wouldn't give him any information, so he made is way up to the ICU and sat outside the doors and prayed for Cate, and prayed, for while. Then he came back to the receptionist told her his story and that is when she called me. I told him that we could not go up to Cate's room because her chest was still open and we were only letting grandparents and Ali's sisters in there for sanitary reasons, but I said you can pray with me. So, we bowed our heads and we prayed together, He prayed, I prayed, we said AMEN. He then got up gave me a hug and his card with his contact information, and left to go back to Victoria. Amazing how God works!!! Yesterdya afternoon I decided to put a counter on Cate's blog, because Ali and I have been very overwhelmed by the amount of comments and emails we were getting from all over the country and around the world. So, at about 4:00pm yesterday I put a counter, that counts how many times this page is viewed, as of 9:00pm tonight there was over 8,000 hits on this blog, UNBELIEVABLE! I told Baby Cate about all of you all this afternoon, she was SPEECHLESS, literally. Two, funny stories for yall, There has been a couple that we have seen around the waiting room for the past few days, there little boy just had his second heart surgery and still has to have one more. Ali got to talking with the Mom last night and mentioned that we had a blog, the mom said, "Baby Cate's, I know I have been reading it, everyday" and then Cate had a new medical personel in her room tonight that we hadn't met before, I said, Hi, my name is Charlie, I'm Cate's dad, He said, Hi, my name is so and so, I have been reading your blog. I was like WHAT! I mean I didn't say that out loud, but I was like here are two people in twenty-four hours that I have NEVER laid eyes on in my life, that are reading my daughters Blog. Cate's reach, her heart, and what she is doing for the power of God are unbelievable, I am so proud to be her daddy, my little evangelist! Ok, this is what i want to leave you with tonight to pray for us. First, i want you to pray for Baby Cate, that her lungs dry out, that her valve stop leaking, and that whatever bacteria has developed in her kidneys just be due to the cathader(sp?). Also that if they do the operation tomorrow that it be SUCESSFUL, it would start around 8:00, I will let you know. Second, I ask that you pray for Ali and I, this afternoon, I will be real honest, after I heard that she had bacteria growing in her kidneys, I felt like I got kicked in the chest, actually, you know what it felt like? Do you remember your first love? Do you remember what it felt like when that person dumped you, well, maybe some of you cool people out there never got dumped, I was chubby in high school, and that hasn't changed much, and had a really bad hair cut, so I experienced these feelings first hand. So, let me put it to you another way if you haven't every been dumped, Do you remember the first time you got your heart broken? There was that pain in your chest, that physical hurt! I felt like tonight, like my heart was breaking physically. I sat in the Target parking lot with Ali, and cried, I told her that, I can't imagine going home without Cate. But, I am am tired of hoping, I didn't say I was hopeless or that I am giving up hope, I said I am tired of hoping. This morning friends of ours brought us communion at the hospital. I asked if they had brought there magnificat book with them, figuring they had, knowing the "good catholics" they were. They had, so I asked if we could read the readings and pray before receiving communion. There was a little meditation in the book after the reading and it was entitled, "Do Not Be Afraid" and this was the last paragraph of the meditation:
It seems to me this is what courage of faith is: it comes from the Lord himself, when we welcome his Word and his sacraments as our light and our truth. It is at the same time audacious and humble, wholly concrete in its works and spiritual in its source, profoundly human, sensible and sweet, and yet resistant and hard as rock.
Lord, BE Ali and I's hope, We seek your sacraments often and have even kicked it up a notch because we feel like we need them even more right now. We are audacious enough to beg you to spare our daughter's life and if necessary to change Your mind if we have to, but we are humble enough to accept whatever befalls us with grace and hope. We have seen hope concrete in the friends who are dedicated to prayer and the random strangers who have showed up to pray with us. We have also seen hope spiritually, where you have spoken to the quiet of our hearts and made us aware of the spiritual battle that rages on. It is as sensible and sweet as our little girl who lay in that bed, waiting on Your healing. And it is resistant and hard as rock and the determination of her Mama and Daddy and the meriad of people who stand with us in your hope for your immediate healing of our Baby Cate.
We love you Lord, BE OUR HOPE! Amen