A year ago today I was transported from the Mercy-Bella Vista ER to Mercy Medical Center, where I was immediately taken to the cath lab. Heart attack!!! Though I was in intense pain, I don’t recall having any fear. And, I knew that, at some point, I would wake up…but I didn’t know where–it would be either in heaven or the hospital.
Marsha Stire Dixon, meanwhile, was awaiting word on my condition. My cardiologist came to the waiting room after working on me for over 1 1/2 hrs., and said, “The procedure was unsuccessful; there’s nothing we could do.” My poor wife collapsed, believing the dr. was saying I’d died, when he explained that I was still alive, but my single blocked artery could not be penetrated to insert a stent. It remained blocked, and there had been some heart damage, but I had survived the ordeal.
It was after that I experienced some personal fear–fear that I would have another heart attack. The cardiologist said, “You’ve already had your heart attack. You’re not going to die from another one!” He said that with medication, diet and lifestyle change I’d live a normal life.
I began 12 week weeks of cardio therapy and worked my way back toward that normal life.
A year later, I take several meds. I eat better. I’ve lost weight (though I have a lot more of it to lose.) I’ve slowed down a little, though not as much as I hoped or expected to. And things are, for the most part, normal. Meanwhile, I stand in faith, knowing that healing is as much a part of the salvation package as eternity in heaven is.
So, a year later my heart is filled with gratitude to God for keeping me on this side of heaven. I can’t begin to express all the blessings of the past year, or the anticipation of the blessings to come in the future. I get to watch my grandkids grow up. I’m here for Marsha, who especially needs me right now as she recovers from her surgery. And we’re in a ministry transition that excites me as much as the prospect of entering full time pastoral ministry did almost 30 years ago..
Thank you, Lord, for leaving me here on earth for an extended season. I’ll do my best to fulfill that which remains for us to do. Amen.