The Thought That Wouldn’t Go Away

My daughter needed a place of healing. I was out of ideas.

by - Posted on Jan 26, 2015

Woman making a cell phone call. Shutterstock.

Another dead end, I thought, hanging up the phone. And it had felt so right this time. The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, New Jersey was almost everything I’d prayed for. A world-class facility specializing in the treatment of young adults with traumatic brain injuries.  Everything they told me convinced me that this was the place where my daughter, Jennifer, would finally begin to heal from the skiing accident she’d suffered two years earlier. Except Jenn and her husband lived in Vermont, and all of the housing options near the Institute turned out to be prohibitively expensive.

Lord, I prayed, I just want my daughter back. Why can’t I find a way to help her? After the accident, Jenn wasn’t herself. Instead of my outgoing, personality-plus daughter, she was impulsive and confused. After years of unsuccessful rehab, her doctor suggested the changes might be permanent. “That’s not an option!” I said, but now I wasn’t so sure. All my calls for help—on the phone or in my prayers—went nowhere.

Call the Episcopal Church in Metuchen. The thought caught me off guard. Metuchen? I was able to find out that the town was close to Edison, and I was Episcopal, but how would the church solve my problem? What was I going to do, ask them to pray? It was a crazy thought. I shrugged it off.

Weeks went by. The thought persisted—Call the church in Metuchen. Jenn continued to struggle. Finally, I gave in. I looked up the Episcopal church, called St. Luke’s, and left a long, rambling message about Jenn’s condition. I hung up feeling flustered.

The next day, I got a call from the Senior Warden of St. Luke’s. “Why did you think to call here?” he asked. I told him about the thought that wouldn’t go away. “It’s crazy, I know,” I said.

 “No, it’s not,” he said. “Our priest of 26 years just moved out of the rectory. Your daughter and her husband can stay the six months here, for free.”

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