Well, well, well… this past Christmas Eve got REAL at the Bell House.
We aren’t just talking about a snowstorm. Or the power being out. We are talking on about a Full-on, honest to goodness crisis. Can I be honest with you? I don’t’ even like that word – crisis. But that is what it was. As I was walking up and down my driveway, looking for a reason why my power would be out, I “discovered” the hard way, that my heart was not in the best of conditions. In other words, after walking back up a third of a mile, from surveying the snowstorm. I had a heart attack. Now listen, I did not know I was having a heart attack, I just knew that something didn’t feel right.
Thankfully, I was able to make it back home. And sit down on my back porch. I was trying to process what I was feeling. Was it indigestion… no, was it ordinary fatigue… no, was it heartburn… no, I was confused. Just at the very moment, my oldest daughter, a nurse practitioner, called to wish her mother and me a Merry Christmas. My wife answered her phone and immediately told Bekah, Merry Christmas and you need to talk to your father. I explained to her what I was feeling and how I had shortness of breath and that I was beginning to perspire. She said, “Dad, you better go somewhere.” I said, “Where?” She replied, “UT Hospital is the best option, with a Heart Cath staff on call.” So, I looked at Mrs. Bell and told her that she would have the pleasure of having her drive me to UT medical center in the snow. This woman changed her clothes, and we loaded up in her car and she got me there safe and sound.
This is where it gets real. After doing a quick EKG in the emergency room, I said to the nurse, “what is going on?” He informed me that I was having an active heart attack. I responded, “so that is what feels like?” Then he said something, that caused me to pause for reflection. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “OK, in a few minutes, things are going to start really moving fast.” This is where, I started to really examine my faith. All these things, the scripture teaches about eternal life… do I really believe it? Do I really believe there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain? Do I really believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and He died to save me from my sins? Do I really believe that I will see Him face to face when I die? Yes, my friends… things got real!
I am thrilled to say, that after all these questions, the responding answer from the bottom of my heart was YES! I understood that God had no obligation to leave me here on Earth but could have in fact take me on home. Upon thinking these thoughts, there was an unexplained peace that set upon me. You might say, it was a peace that passes all understanding. As I kept my heart and mind on Christ Jesus.
Christmas Eve turned into Christmas Day. When I had double bi-pass surgery, suffered from a collapsed lung and a pulmonary embolism. God had chosen to leave me here. For which I am thankful. But I had a peace that was present even when I did not know what the outcome was. Christmas night I began to wake up. I looked over at my wife, and asked, “Mama is it over, did I make it.” To which she chuckled and said, “Yes it sure looks like it.”
I have since gone back to work, after learning that God’s providence is real, my wife is amazing, the staff at this radio station is second to none, and God is faithful.
Two things: if you feel a burning sensation in your chest and shortness of breath, do not think it will just go away. Get somewhere where you can get treated. That is number one. Number two. Learn to appreciate life while you are here for a short time. And learn to appreciate the people around you.
Learn the importance of Psalm 139:16,
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
So let’s get real.