Monday, May 9, 2011

Have You Ever Felt Like a Basket Case? I Have

Today it will have been five weeks since I was rushed to the ER with a a heart attack. As I type this, it was only a few hours ago that I said "I am not the same as I was before." Something has changed....

My friend Joyce always tells it like it is on her blog: Sounds of Hope. She's a trooper and has become the near pure fragrance of the Holy Spirit through a lot of refining; I have not. After some of her stories I just shake my head in amazement at that which a human can endure, especially one as kind and sensitive as she has become.

Today I am going to imitate her a bit, and be real about the my Christian life. Faced with some challenges since my hospitalization, the biggest one being that I need to get back to work, I have been shaken. Interestingly I suppose that isn't actually the biggest hurdle. Before me still looms recovery, one that is far more complicated than I ever thought. I have been in denial about the seriousness of my condition. In spite of the fact that two cardiologists, my primary care physician, and a number of nurses have told me "THIS IS A BIG DEAL AND IT IS GOING TO TAKE TIME," I have decided that I should be better than I am - I should have more energy, more enthusiasm, and a clearer mind.

I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts, which is probably not the safest neighborhood. My mind has so many things to accomplish, and my body is resistant. I continue to try to do more than I should. I am supposed to "listen to my body", but without caffeine (which I can't have), it doesn't listen. I have doctor's orders and they don't fit my feelings or my lifestyle. They don't allow me a fast-track back to my old life. In fact today, I am certain something has changed; I have changed.

I was reading a web site about the emotional health of a post heart attack victim, me. It put names to the things I am feeling. I felt like a basket case before I finished reading the page. It was as good as a word from God, though.

Although I am what Jesus says I am, and I don't always believe the reports I get from doctors, I do listen. I think He knows more than they do. I'm just saying.

How does Jesus fit into all this? Well, when I read what I am experiencing (HERE), and it seems normal, I need to remember that Jesus is normal. In the end he suffered some pretty sever medical conditions and didn't give up. With his strength, each day, I get up at the regular time, I try to maintain a normal schedule, I do small chores that I can finish, I pray, I walk, I eat well, and I take the medication. I have had a hard time resting, and not over exercising. I made 3 miles on the treadmill 2 days before all this happened.

My friends say I was too busy, and that is why I got sick. I guess I don't know what busy is - I worked/commuted 50-55 hours a week, wrote 4 blogs, played in a band one evening, dated my wife one evening, did a few chores on Wednesdays, went to the gym 3 or 4 times, and participated in church. Too much? I don't know, it still seems normal to me. Life is for living.

Now I go out once a day because I am bored (I have driven all of about 350 miles for the month), I try to write a few blogs (I fortunately have a backlog of about 700 that I can remix), I walk a mile every other day, keep up with all the doctors and try to relax. It is a big span from where I am to where I was. With each task, I think, can't this be done some other day?

I am afraid that I won't be able to make a living like I once did.

When I was in the hospital, my pastor prayed for me, and I felt that the proof of my healing would be that my heart enzymes (released in a heart attack) would become normal. I actually saw some sort of picture in my spirit of that happening. I have faith for that, I do. I know I heard God.

In the midst of all this, Jesus also promised me that he would "redeem everything." Hearing from God is way cool, and vital to the peace that I do have. For me, although hearing from God always causes a dilemma: did I really hear Him, and do I have faith to believe it, to nah, that is just my wishful thinking. I am choosing faith in this promise.

Faith is serious business. It is not religious jewelry, but the turnbuckle that connects heaven to earth; the supernatural to the natural. Sometimes it fits the flow of life, and some times it is counter to that flow.


Well, you know God is awesome, right? As I typed the above bold sentence, I felt like I had more to say, but didn't have words to say it. I set a publish date for Monday, and forgot about it. I took a shower and was heading for the YMCA to do my tri-weekly mile. It was 5 minutes to nine, the Mother's Day breakfast in bed was a success, and I wanted to get to church for the 10:30 service. I heard the Lord prompt me, go to the 9 am service. I swapped my sweat pants for a pair of jeans and headed to the Vineyard. Mix-and-match gym/church clothes are awesome!

I sat through the acoustic worship, then a sermon on forgiveness - you know, the f-bomb. Both were introspective. I was in the lobby, getting ready to leave and one of the elders gave a word of knowledge. "There is someone here this morning with a weak heart that God wants to heal it." I didn't even hear him, but a woman that I know came and got me. I went up for prayer, and you know, I am now certain that my healing is on God's radar.

I heave heart enzyme tests next week.

How about you, have you had a life changing event, one you were never the same after? Tell us about it.

11 comments:

Arny said...

God heals the broken hearted...

I can really relate to all this...

" I have been in denial about the seriousness of my condition. In spite of the fact"...

" Faith is serious business."

It is very hard for these two phrases to be in sync with each other. Most people (my family) belive that when I say I have faith that my "situation" is taken care of by God...they say that i'm in denial. and I don't mean the river.

I was born with congenital heart disease. I had open heart surgery at ages 2 and 6 years old...and when I was 17, I had a major takacarida (where my heart beats per minutes escalated with a normal breathing rate) I had to get electric shock to bring my heart rate down...then it went down to low....it was a mess. i also have an enlarged heart. They said that medacine wouldn't do that I would need a pace maker and then eventually a major surgery. Long story short. I eventually didn't get the surgery done, I lost my medicaid cause i came of age. and for about 8 years now I have not taken meds or seen the doctor (although my wife says this year that is going to change)...

I know for a fact that Jesus has held my heart in his hands...he has to be...there is no way I should be alive....the statistics don't allow it....

I'm not in denial of my condition...I just have faith in the supernatual power of Jesus Christ....

By his stripes...we are healed...

Just a bit of my story...

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Arny - thanks for sharing. It is awesome how God takes good care of us. Interestingly, when I didn't have insurance, I rarely if ever got sick!

I know I am in God's hands. He has spoken enough to give me faith for a full recovery - and His promises are for keeps.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a Will? I have known at least two people, healthy, with families (and a business in one case) who unexpectedly died without a Will.

Yes, it was pretty clear who got what, but the lack of Will slowed everything down and made it more painful.

Having a Will in place is one of the best things you can do for your family once you're gone (and everyone goes).

2SenseWorth said...

What you’ve experienced is surely a trauma to you, both physically and psychologically; yet, the Lord will carry you thru to the other side and keep you in the midst. He is changing your life for the better, promoting you, and deepening your spiritual wisdom. :)

I will never be the same since my husband passed away 2 years ago. I can relate because I too, though numb, wanted to get back to normal, to move on and be the same again… have a life again (a life I fought for years to gain and attain), but life won’t ever be the same, and I must guard that life doesn’t ever go back to what it once was (been the battle of my life) - ultimately life must move forward.

The blow of that trauma has forever changed my entire being even though I often carry on as if it hasn’t - it’s changed me in mind, body and spirit. That wound never really goes away, but I pray for God to use it for transformation in me to His good because it’s a part of me now, though it doesn’t have to destroy me.

If you’ve not experienced the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, there’s so much more involved to overcome than the initial earth-shattering pain of loss and grief; that which literally rips your heart out - This ache begins to fade in intensity over the years, yet I'm still amazed at just how deeply it leaves the forever challenging endeavor of working thru the regret, confusion, what ifs, “lack of closure” - tough.

There’s a sense that I’d describe as being rather surreal, as a survival mechanisms kicks in. As time passes, you find yourself in a place where it’s as if you’re standing on the edge of a cliff; you can peer into the ever increasingly unfamiliar emotional abyss of reality, or choose to turn your back, looking the other way. Every time you allow yourself a peek down the dark, rocky, foreboding expanse of the painful depths, a tsunami wave of clamoring conflicting emotions floods your soul - some which quite possibly cannot be made completely whole this side of Heaven - Even when you think you're strong... “A smile hides a thousand tears and an ocean of fears”… denial won’t fix things, yet the tasks of the day and busyness of life propels you forward; the great need for joy in life stirs up hope within for all that God has in store. I chose to live there, yet can't run from the marks it's made on me. So hence, often silently living "the basket case syndrome” lol..

A little long and heavy I guess… my apologies, but understand, I live on the light side: trusting, hoping, looking ahead for my redemption, yet carry this weight to be laid at His feet: this is one way of doing it. :)

Praying for you.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Anon - pretty much - could use some updating.

@2 - yeah, losing a spouse is something I can never imagine. Prayers of healing for you.

Joyce Lighari said...

I pray for you often, sometimes with tears - I don't have any answers other than prayer

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

i like that "life is for living" - but I guess you were doing too much as it was unhealthy. Thanks for giving us the update David - it was good to hear from you in such a personal tone.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Joyce - thanks. You are a blessing. :)

@Charlie - yeah, there is a real person back her behind the screen. Thanks for reading along.

Tony C said...

I never heard my doctor say the actual words 'You've got cancer,' but I was just smart enough to follow the medical-term filled conversation to know may life was about to seriously change.

And it did...ultimately for the better! Yours will too my friend if you just keep your eye on the big prize!

Charlie Chang said...

I always feel like a basket case! :)

photogr said...

David:

You have two people to listen to. God and your doctor. Time to slow down till you can recover. I am still praying for you.

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