Monday, October 19, 2015


fast 1 |fast| adjective
moving or capable of moving at high speed
 showing a time ahead of the correct time: I keep my watch fifteen minutes fast.
firmly fixed or attached: (of friends) close and loyal.
fast 2 |fast| verb
abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, esp. as a religious observance.

Interesting word, fast. Most people use it as an adjective, as defined above.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observe the principle of the fast (abstaining from food and drink for 24 hours) once a month. Fasting is more than not eating, however (for the Church's definition of fasting, click here). When observed mindfully, fasting includes a prayerful component that brings answers to questions and aligns my soul more closely with God.

That said, fasting is hard. Most months, I refrain from eating and drinking, but I don't put my whole heart into it. Recently, however, I had heavy questions, family health concerns, and parenting dilemmas weighing on my heart that I couldn't face alone. Instead of waiting until Fast Sunday, I decided to fast on my own. The answers and direction I sought through prayer came to me. I handled situations better and accepted difficulties with more grace. I know that fasting and prayer, together, can work miracles in our hearts.

The thing is, life can change in an instant. Fast.

Our lives changed fast yesterday.
This is a photo of Brad's parents, his mom and stepdad, taken just a few weeks ago during a trip to France.

While they were attending sacrament meeting yesterday, Greg experienced a massive headache, one so bad that an ambulance was called. He was driven to the closest emergency room, where the staff determined that he needed to be life flighted to a better hospital. They diagnosed a possible aneurysm with bleeding in the back of his brain. He underwent emergency surgery to place a drain in his brain and a lead in his leg late last night. His blood pressure, always an issue for him and one for which he takes medication, had risen to 200/?, and there was so much blood in his brain that they couldn't tell where it was coming from. He is growing increasingly agitated, which tells the doctors that the pressure in in his brain is increasing. He is heavily sedated and restrained so that he won't try to remove the tubes, but the doctors hope to pull back on the meds to evaluate his cognition and reaction.

Fast. Here they were just two weeks ago.

Greg has always been a silent hero in our family. He rarely seeks the spotlight and is usually content to sit back and observe. Like the definition above, he has been firmly fixed, close and loyal. When he married Janie, she had five small children, he had three of his own, and they had one more together. He shouldered the responsibility of parenting, providing, and loving for her children like his own, and as their family expanded to included in-laws and grandkids, he is always there in the background--standing witness at weddings and baptisms, bouncing small children on his knee as he recited "Sandy Port," or hiding the last piece so he could have the honor of finishing the puzzle.

More than that, Greg is my friend. He is a tender-hearted soul who always greets me with a smile and a hug and a compliment.We have spent countless hours discussing interesting things either at his kitchen table with the newspaper spread between us or sitting on the couch under the soft lamplight. Politics. Religion. Parenting. Education. Music. He would ask me to play the piano for him, and when he started lessons a few years ago, he would play for me. He is one of the few people who took a real interest in my master's degree studies, and he offered me advice on how I could share my passion with others.  After we had been married at least ten years, Greg looked at me and said, "You know, you're one of those rare people that gets more beautiful as you get older." And just last week, he left this comment on my blog:

Jenny, you're such a great example of a loving, sacrificing and extremely intelligent Mom. You should be pleased with the results you have achieved in your parenting by the desire your children have to excel and do their very best, and be involved in wholesome activities. Don't let it go to your head, but if you could be cloned and distributed to every country in the world, very few of the world's problems would exist. I love you, Greg.

Fast--moving at high speed.
Fast--close and loyal.
Fast--abstaining from food and drink as part of a religious observance.

It's still too early to predict outcomes. One could include 21 days in the ICU, followed with months of rehabilitation and physical therapy. One could not.

My heart is full and my stomach is empty, for again today, I am fasting. Fasting for peace. Fasting for comfort. Fasting for a man whom I love dearly.


  1. So sorry to hear that! I wish you had mentioned it yesterday and I could have fasted with you. My prayers are with you!

  2. I'm praying for all of you, Jen. He sounds wonderful, and I love his comment on your post. I also agree with it.

  3. Such a beautiful post Jenny....thanks for the reminder that things happen fast. Your father in law sounds like one heck of a man. Sending prayers for your father in law and family.

  4. That was a beautiful post. We will also remember him and your family in our prayers.