August James Wright

In the sister blog to NicholsNotes,, I recently posted an article describing the massive root structure supporting the poplar tree towering over my front yard. The tree’s nature to expand drove it to extend radially into the lawn and surrounding gardens. The roots gave the tree a solid foundation but destroyed other plantings in a thirty-year expansion across the lot.

Before I could finish and post that article with its application on weathering storms through healthy roots in our spiritual lives I found myself struggling in the midst of another tempest. Writing, garden work, shop projects and most everything screeched to a stop.

Our grandson, August James Wright, picked his birthday a couple of weeks ago. I will respect the privacy of August’s parents and withhold details, but I can share that August faces major heart issues. During a year that has included the trickle-torture of losing my mother to cancer we’ve carried the awareness that the baby would face physical challenges, the extent of which could not be known until his birth.

As the calendar edged closer to August’s due date Shawn and I have reminded God that He is the great physician. We’ve pleaded for a miracle until our words failed us. We’ve zombied through the planning of Mom’s funeral and the probate of her estate all the while trying to shove aside the crushing burden of uncertainty over our grandbaby’s future.


And little August, our miracle, arrived on schedule. At 7 pounds 13 ounces August revealed that he had appropriated his share of the good food and desserts his Mom made available to him. His first stop became the Children’s Pediatric Cardiac ICU. I was unsure if we would be allowed to visit him there. Or to hold him. Or to touch him. Maybe at least we could peak through a window.

Babies need to hear the voices of their loved ones. They crave the touch of their loved ones. The hospital graciously allows August’s parents to control visitor access, limited to two people at a time and only to those without a hint of a cold. Our son-in-law added my name to August’s visitors list, an appropriate tag was placed around my wrist, and I held my grandson the day of his birth with all his wires and tubes and sensors.

He is adorable.

August’s struggle in the first days included low oxygen levels due to his heart geometry. He had a tiny cannula inserted in his nostrils to assist with his breathing, and he wrestled mightily to remove that foreign object. What a grip!

During two long nights I stood beside his bed stroking his head and patting his tummy while keeping an eye on sensors that alarmed with regularity. Nurses hustled into the room each time the threat level edged into the red zone. Sometimes his cannula had slipped free, or he was hungry, or that tiny diaper needed a change. At other times he just wanted to be turned to face Grandpa.

I wiped tears on my sleeve as I launched prayers upward for this child, his health, and his strength to push ahead in the face of adversity. The “Why, God?” questions fought for a foothold in my thoughts but, thankfully, I was consumed with August and his needs. There was no time for doubting.

Are my roots deep enough to weather this storm? Do I believe that my heavenly Father is too perfect to make mistakes and too loving to be unkind? Does my faith reach beyond mere words to the actual moments and events of life? Tempests have a way of defining a man or a woman.

August’s oxygen levels are in the safe zone now without the cannula. He soared through his first heart procedure, and we’ve celebrated his move from the Pediatric Cardiac ICU to the Pediatric ICU and now to a step-down room. He has a long way to go but we cheer each tidbit of positive news.

TeamAugust includes loving parents, a big sister (who has yet to see him), doting aunts and uncles, and two pairs of grandparents who are covering his precious heartbeats with prayer. August is here for a purpose, God’s purpose.

Perhaps God will use me in some way to help this child grow and to develop into the man he is to become. After all, Little August is already shaping his grandpa.