Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thus Far...

The teeming lobby was silent.

The halls were deserted.

The elevators were barricaded.

The guts of UCLA Medical Center had been transplanted to the new Ronald Reagan Hospital down the block.

Echoes of loud voices ricocheted through my mind as I walked through the long, lonely halls to the one wing still occupied: The Neuro-Rehab unit on the main floor.

Those of us with loved ones there felt hollow and abandoned, like the obsolete shell of a building through which we wandered.

Hope seemed as faded as the drab, scuffed paint on the walls.

But one man refused to let go of the vision.

He refused to let us forget.


Intent on his mission, he snuck back in like a thief. Ignoring the warning signs, he took the elevator as far as it would go; then he took the fire escape stairs up to the 7th floor.

Back to the dead and darkened ICU.

Back to the place where life and death were separated by nothing more than a flimsy curtain.

Back to where the miracles happened.


He reconstructed the reality:

The actor’s “Head Shot” that the patient’s mother had taped to the wall behind the bed…a reminder that this was still a person, not a thing.

The fuzzy old blanket dear friends brought to the hospital as a hug-surrogate that had remained a constant comforter in spite of sanitary concerns. Green, the color of life.

And, most importantly, tangible symbols of intangible promises: a mound of heavy stones representing memorial stones from the Old Covenant.

A stone for every miracle.


Alone in the silent room that once buzzed and blared the blinking signals of survival, our friend painstakingly constructed a pyramid of hope upon that bed of pain and horror.

So we would never forget what we witnessed there.

The bed now lies as empty as the tomb from which the largest stone was rolled away.

Although we have many, many miles to go before we sleep,

Thus far has the Lord brought us…

And He will bring us safely Home.


Our friend, Ryan Dobson, was one of the remaining handful of people with us in the waiting room the morning after Katherine's 16 hours of brain surgery. He was there when the surgeon told us that Katherine would "suffer deficits" that would likely include permanent coma or life in a persistent vegetative state. He was one of three young men who prayed with Jay and me in the aftermath of this devastating news. As we reeled in disbelief and agony, those young men prayed hope and courage into us. One had a vision of something that has proved to be prophetic: Katherine would not only survive, but thrive and use her suffering for the glory of God through a speaking ministry. In months when Katherine could communicate only with a thumb's up or down, this seemed just wishful thinking.

But her ministry has now begun.

Ryan had his photograph made into beautiful cards for us. They are much more breathtaking in reality than in these reproductions. The cards have the photograph on the front, and the scripture in beautiful calligraphy on the inside. ("Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the LORD helped us.'" (I Samuel 7:12)) The copy at the top of this post is a postcard version, which doesn't do the card justice. The one at the bottom is a cropped version.

Although Ryan did these as a personal gift to us, not a fund-raising effort, others have asked about the cards. Ryan has most graciously suggested that he can make them available for a donation of $50 (plus S&H) to the Katherine Wolf Fund, which will be used for continuing medical expenses. The cards are 5x7 on linen paper, envelopes included, and come in a set of 25. You can email Ryan directly at for more information.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Oh, how I love this verse. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't know very much about it until a few months ago. When a friend said to me, "raise your Ebenezers in worship and praise to replace the anxiety."

Wow. What a testimony Katherine is for God's Glory. Even though it is so hard(I can't even begin to imagine) He is redeeming and restoring her. It is a beautiful and amazing thing to watch. He is changing others through Katherine. Only God. Only God. Praise the Lord!

I think I am going to have to order some of these beautiful cards:)