Running as prayer

July 7, 2010

Faith Outdoors

My 3-mile run this morning had a different focus. While pounding the pavement, I offered it up as a prayer for the Maslow family.

In today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press was the story of 16-year-old Alex Maslow, who died in a car accident in Wisconsin on the 4th of July. He was by himself and heading to a cabin when he went off the road and went airborne after hitting an embankment. He was pronounced brain dead at the hospital and was taken off life support yesterday. Then, he went into surgery and donated his organs, as he had discussed with his parents back in February when he got his driver’s license.

This was a tough one for me because I have known his parents, Mike and Kathy, since the mid 1980s. In fact, Kathy and my first wife, Jennifer, who died of cancer in 1995, were best friends. It took a long time for Kathy to recover from Jennifer’s death, and now this.

I have been getting choked up all week, and I’ll probably feel that way for a while. I have been praying for the family and thinking about the Maslows ever since I got the news. Mike and  I worked together when Jennifer was sick and for about a year after her death. He was so good about supporting me during that time. It was so helpful. I hope I can do something for him now. With so much going on with his family, I know better than to try to contact him now. I hope to get a chance to greet him at the wake tomorrow and the funeral on Friday at Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, which is their parish and mine.

I also know that there will be plenty of opportunities to talk to him in the coming weeks and months. I hope to have a chance to visit with him and offer some hope and encouragement. In the meantime, I will pray for him and the entire Maslow family.

Interestingly, after Mike and Kathy got engaged and before their wedding, Mike and I were driving Kathy’s Mitsubishi Montero while helping her move. She had  recently purchased it and really liked it. But, as we went through an unmarked intersection, a large car slammed into the driver’s side, pushing us off the road and into a telephone pole. We were shaken up, but not hurt. Mike felt just sick about the vehicle getting  totaled.

Kathy, however, handled the situation beautifully. She was glad both of us were OK, and she let go of the Montero. I couldn’t help but think that this incident strengthened their relationship somehow. I have always thought they had a strong marriage, and I am confident they will get through this, with the help of God’s grace and the prayers and support of family and friends.

I have been told that losing a child is one of the hardest things in life. I don’t doubt it. I know this will be hard for them. Yet, God does amazing things in circumstances such as this.

Therefore, I have hope. And, I humbly offer this prayer: Lord Jesus, pour out your grace and your comfort on the  Maslows. Take care of their every need: spiritual, material, emotional. And, especially bless their remaining six children.

Finally, give them healing and, in your perfect timing, joyful anticipation of their eventual reunion with Alex in heaven.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek