One year and five months ago, while I was commiserating with intimate friends around eleven o’clock at night, I got the phone call that uprooted my life upside down. They said my brother has been hospitalized after suffering from a major heart attack. The distance between us just seemed to multiply; what was only two and a half hour felt like forever as I tried desperately to eat up the chasm between us.
After an eternity of agony and morbid thoughts, I arrived at the hospital to find my brother on the brink of death. The healing balm was that as soon as I pulled back the curtains to look at him, his eyes light up when he saw me. I took his hand assured him that he will survive this. I wasn’t allowed to stay by his side for more than three minutes. What followed was an agonizing night with dark thought pushing me hither and thither. I prayed so hard and so long that eventually, it all blurred into each other to the point I lost the ability to properly understand or articulate what I was saying.
My only recollection is sending a prayer to Saint Charbel to heal my brother and make him whole again. And I heard throughout the night the whirl of machines dreading the moment they might come and tell me he has left this earth. After what had seemed like a multitude of lifetimes, the sun made its entrance into the sky as we received more ominous news from the doctor that advised us against moving him because he is at risk of dying. A higher calling sprang within me, and I took the picture of Saint Charbel. A strange calm took over me as I asked for guidance. Immediately, I heard the answer and I rushed off to transfer my brother to Beirut despite all the advice I got cautioning me against such a decision. But I was adamant and nothing could dissuade me.
The trip was one of horror. I clutched the image of Saint Charbel over my brother’s head begging him to see my brother through. I was so sure that he would arrive safely. The road took only an hour and a quarter instead of the two and a half hour. The doctor who accompanied us in the ambulance begged me to stop in Sidon to admit him in as the risk was too high to take, but I was acting under the guidance of a higher power. Just when my resolve threatened to waver, my brother removed the mask and asked me to keep on.
As soon as he reached Beirut, he was immediately rushed to the operating room to undergo a difficult surgery. Thanks to the mercy of God, my brother’s health returned only a few days later. Everyone came to offer their applause having cheated death congratulating us on the refined medical team. I say otherwise; I think the hand of Saint Charbel was with us the entire time and I believe he is still with him at this time and forever more. I offer a final plea to Saint Charbel that he always protects him and his family.