A Redefined Truth
This is my current truth: I have heart disease. Even after all this time, I can barely acknowledge it and still find it hard to say it aloud. Heart disease? Me? Oh, yes, me, and there is no doubt about it.
Nearly thirteen years ago, I had quadruple bypass surgery and there weren’t any clues, signs, or portents in the years leading up to August 20, 2003. I didn’t have chest pain other than the occasional bout with indigestion. I wasn’t short of breath, well, no more than usual. Sure I had smoked for more years than I care to admit, but I had quit before anything bad could happen. I was safe. Dizziness? Nah, not heart disease, it was only my hormones. Women can have dizzy spells as they approach menopause. As far as being more tired, I had very busy days so it was no wonder I was bushed when I got home. Move along, nothing to see here. That was my truth.
Even now, I can hear the gentle voice of the doctor in the heart catheterization lab as he shared the results of my test with my husband and me, “Two arteries are 100% blocked, one is 90% blocked and another 70% blocked. Looks like you will need open heart surgery. Let me introduce you to one of our best heart surgeons.” He patted my arm.
My head was spinning, and for once, I readily admitted I was short of breath. I looked at my husband and wondered what he was thinking and how he was feeling. I think what I hated the most at that moment was making him worry about me. I also wondered how I was alive.
While I am still shocked by all that happened, I am also continually in awe of the One who saw me through that ordeal. The One who used the experience to mold and shape me, to teach me to trust Him and Him alone, to show me patience and perseverance. This journey took fear and denial and changed them into truth and light. It wasn’t easy by any means. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through and still, I thank Jesus every day for it.
Kind of crazy to be thankful for open heart surgery, isn’t it? What kind of nut am I anyway? You probably have a picture of the “church lady” from an old Saturday Night Live skit going through your mind right now. All prim and proper. Praise the Lord and pass the plate. Nope, that ain’t me.
Try a child of the sixties who left the church in my teens certain I could never be good enough for long enough to get into heaven. I dabbled in New Age paganism, astrology, palm reading, and all sorts of psychic nonsense while trying to claim they were gifts from God. Take me to the river and let me keep on dancing till I fill the void inside my soul. Nothing I tried–no drug, no alcohol, no relationship–filled that void until I finally met, trusted, and fell in love with Jesus Christ.
I am alive because He is my life; I am strong because He is my strength; I have hope because He is my hope. This is my eternal truth.