In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye, your life can change. On Thursday morning, I was at work hammering out a project when I received a call that changed my life. The person on the other end of the line informed me that my father had suffered a stroke in the Philippines. I didn't know what to say or what to do. I was stunned and speechless. After I got over the initial shock, I tried to gather as many facts about the situation as I could, but English as a second language and emotional distress made it difficult to understand the other person.

Minutes later I was on the phone with all the family members and friends who I thought needed to know about the situation or could give immediate help. To be honest, I felt powerless and scared to death. I didn't know if my dad was alive or dead. All I knew was that he had a stroke and was in a hospital in the Philippines. It would be close to twelve hours later before I knew the name of the facility or had direct news from the doctors about his status.

By Thursday evening, I had a flight booked to LA. During my layover in Las Vegas, I confirmed the rest of my trip to Manila. By Friday night, I was over the Pacific in a plane to see my father. In less than 48 hours, I went from Oklahoma to an unexpected trip to Manila. I am not sure when I will be returning.

My emotions through all of this have been scattered to say the least. I bounce from business mode, to fear, to sadness, then back to logical. I have had tears come to my eyes more times than I can count. When someone you love is hurting, all you want to do is be there with them and make it better.

Throughout all of this ordeal, I've felt the support of friends across the globe. Continual prayers have been a source of encouragement and helped me push forward when I wanted to sit back and cry. Advice from close mentors and friends helped shape my thinking and give me the right mindset to do what I need to do to take care of my dad.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me through the situation thus far, and keep on praying for his support. As I write this, I'm riding in a car on the road to visit my dad. I do not know what to expect when I see him. I'm scared.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK