The view above, looking toward the mountains east of Temecula, was the best part of my hospital stay. The day began with checking out emails on my laptop, when some light headedness began. No necessary link here, folks! Then I headed to the kitchen for a restorative cup of coffee, and my body veered to the left when I wanted to go right. A bit suspicious, I tried to walk the straight grout line on the tile—same result. So I did a quick mirror test for stroke signs, good. Next I stood on one leg and balanced, or tried to. Not good.
As much as I resisted my own idea, I asked Sheila to drive me to the hospital. When I told the triage nurse that I might have signs of a stroke, he got me right to a doctor, who added possible heart issues to the cause. That began an interminable series of tests. A CT scan of my head, followed by a chest X ray. Yes, they found a heart, then did an MRI of my head. The symptoms had all disappeared by now, but they wanted to observe me overnight and do an echo cardiogram the next day. And consult with both the cardiologist and neurologist.
They staggered the tests, so I had a lot of waiting, with little information given on the results. Honestly, I thought it was a minor TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack, which is like a stroke but just temporary, but the level of concern by the doctors concerned me. So I pondered and prayed a lot. A lot. If this turned out to be a major health issue that could limit my life, then how will I respond? What do I need to do?
So, here come some thoughts, a bit random, that while personal to me, also touch all followers of Jesus. I encourage you to think about these issues, be ready, and incorporate God in the process.
First, was I ready to meet Jesus? Yes, and am sometimes eager to do so. I love life here, but I like the idea of being in the immediate presence of Jesus, with no temptations.
Second, are my material issues in order to take care of Sheila? What do I need to do to prepare? What do I need to tell her?
Third, if I learn I have a limited life span remaining, how will I spend it? Honestly, my first thought was to travel to some new places, new for me or Sheila. But as I pondered, that lessened in importance. As great as this world is, it cannot match the beauty of heaven. So, if I can’t finish my bucket list of riding a motorcycle in all 50 states, that’s OK. So, first I’d want to spend time with family and friends. Not likely to have a lot of Facebook interaction, except on a spiritual level. That leads to my second focus—enhancing my opportunities to tell people about Jesus, to take as many as possible to heaven with me. Now, that CAN be done with travel…
So backing up, what results came from the tests? First, the symptoms came from that TIA I suspected. Still no recurrence of the symptoms, and I have had a LOT of tests to show my brain and blood system have no concerns. A couple of days taken to affirm what I suspected--I’m in pretty decent health for an old guy.
Second, the prayer and ponderings helped. A lot. We so easily slip into habits, patterns, and we benefit from regular reevaluations, to see the values we proclaim are expressed in our actions, our choices
Kick Starting the Application
Have you ever faced events that could mark the imminent end of your earthly life? Did you change in response to them? Did those changes continue beyond a few months? Looking back, would you have made different ones? If you learned your physical life would be shortened, how would you react? Apart from a crisis, how regularly do you intentionally evaluate the course of your life to optimize your connection with God? Should you do it more often?