Facing Health Challenges In Life
You folks know that I rarely talk about health problems. But this week I’ll share a challenge I’ve been facing.
Last week I talked about life for me being an easy pull up the mountain. That might imply I have no physical challenges, but that isn’t correct.
Back in 1999 I was music minister in Los Alamos, N.M., while working at the scientific laboratory. At the end of the school year, my son Michael wanted me to go on a three-day hike with him. We planned to have a great time.
At 8 a.m. on Friday morning, Carol drove us to the drop-off point where the trail began. She said she would pick us up at that spot at 4 p.m. on Sunday in time for my next church business meeting and choir rehearsal.
But 20 minutes into the climb, my heart began acting up. Determined to keep my word and spend the weekend on the mountain with Michael, I told him that if I got hurt he was to use my cellphone and call my colleague at the scientific laboratory, who would then make the necessary calls to come get me. But I didn’t want Michael to worry, so I didn’t tell him what was happening.
The first two days were slow, and Michael was bugged about it. But finally, before reaching our goal, I said, “Michael, I’m heading back.” That’s when I told him about the two-day ordeal with my heart.
I barely made it back at the appointed time, attended the meeting, and conducted choir rehearsal. However, around 2 a.m., I woke Carol and asked her to listen to my heart. When she did, she became agitated because I hadn’t told her about it before, then she hauled me to the emergency room.
My heart was very erratic, fibrillating part of the time, then pounding hard, sometimes not beating for two to three seconds, then it hurried to catch up. It turned out to be stress-related. I’ve handled many situations that involved stress to a high degree. Finally it caught up with me.
For two weeks, I worked half-time while the medication was fine-tuned for my physical situation, then I gradually resumed my full schedule. But I learned to recognize the symptoms and made myself slow down.
As I said last week: “Life can present a temporary stall out, a long-term burnout, or a fatal crash — it often depends on our outlook on life. But when we look at life on the positive side of the picture, life can be a relatively easy pull up the mountain.” And if you know me, I live and thrive on the positive side.
About a year later God temporarily healed my heart, and for 14 years I took no medication. But it eventually began acting up again.
Resuming medication in 2013, I have been doing quite well and even accepted more responsibilities. But in 2017 the heart took a downturn, and I finally realized that I needed to slow way down.
Slowly throughout mid-2017 to mid-2018, I released one responsibility after another. And at the same time, Carol and I began planning to take a six- to twelve-month trip around the U.S. of A. We are on that trip now; and as of this writing, we are in Eureka, Mont.
Is the heart working properly? It’s working much better, but I’ll probably be on medication until I enter the Golden Gates of Heaven where I’ll see Jesus face-to-face.
We cannot hide from problems and pretend they don’t exist, but they don’t have to get us down. Instead, we need to rationally and maturely face them. But life can still be a relatively easy pull up the mountain if we keep our faith in and on Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Jesus can give us wisdom, strength, courage, and joy as we face life with its challenges.
So don’t give up on life; don’t give up on yourself; and for sure, don’t give up on Jesus. Trust Him and live for Him all the days of your life; and when you see Him you will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.”