"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heart Condition

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Normally I write a blog post, clean it up and then post it…not today. I’m going to write it raw and uncensored…hopefully it will make sense.

A year ago today my world came to a crashing halt. My wife Christine, the love of my life, had a heart attack that night and though it was a minor one…it shook our faith.

It was late when it happened and most of the house was asleep except for Sarah, my oldest daughter. When my wife was stable and resting, I returned home…it was now around 3:30 in the morning. I was exhausted and wondering how I would tell my kids that their mom had a heart attack and now was in ICU awaiting further tests. That was very difficult, my kids range from age 8 to 21 and their response was as varied as their age.

The next few days were a blur of phone calls. hospital visits, talking to concerned friends and family, and trying to manage a resemblance of normality for my kids at home. We have a great support system and the body of Christ surrounded us with love and care. All during this time I remained strong and focused on leading my family through this difficult and painful time. I talked to my kids, trying to give them space to express their fears or worries…I did the same for other relatives. I kept a brave face on, speaking Scripture and expressing worship…for I was truly grateful.

There was one problem with that brave face….I was also truly hurting.

I was afraid that my wife was going to die, or that she would endure a painful recovery and never be the same person again. I’ve seen other people who have suffered heart attacks and they became shells of their former self. I didn’t want that for her. I was afraid that my kids would be hurt and not ever trust God if their mom died. I cried in secret and moaned in solitude…trying to be strong for everybody, I was suffering from a different kind of heart problem. Instead of sharing my pain…I buried it…deep.

Here it is a year later and I’m finally dealing with it. I realize that there was something my wife mentioned back then (while she was in the hospital) that has bothered me but that I wasn’t dealing with. Christine, during one really vulnerable moment, mentioned how she wished she went home…and I don’t mean Hyde Park, NY. That statement shook me and made me wonder just how she could want to leave us…it really bothered me, so I pushed it deeper inside.

Today I realize that statement made by my wife a year ago is one of the reasons I love her so. On a piece of paper I wrote on a year ago I wrote this Scripture from Psalm 4, it didn’t seem to fit what I was going through then.

“Lord, you have put joy in my heart, more than they have when their grain and their wine are increased.” Psalm 4:7

I know my wife loves me, I know she loves her children, but thankfully, she loves Christ more. Her love for her God is something I admire and draws me closer to her. I can’t blame her for wanting to be with her savior, to be in His presence forever…that’s the heart condition I need. The joy comes a deep relationship with Him, not just when times are good (increased harvest) or in my case, because my wife survived a heart attack. No, the expectation is for Him, not for a life free of trials.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.”  Psalm 39: 7

So, here I am. I’m being to unearth the pain and deal honestly with it all. I know that it is still a process…but hope is returning to strengthen my faith. I wrote a poem in 2002 that speaks to me today.

Wet with Hope

I have touched life
with handfuls of hope.

Letting it run through
my fingers.

Soaking all I wear.
Wetting my pathway.

I take my still wet hands to
my face and wipe it clean.

My eyes clear once more.
I see the place where
I’m standing.

It’s wet with hope,
uplifting my position.

Thanks for letting bear my soul a bit today…there is more to come.
Blessings,
Jay

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