I have begun this posting several times in recent weeks, but have never written so much as a single sentence. It seems unbelievable to me that at one moment I can be an eyeblink from death… and now, a couple of months removed, everything seems so normal. No, I haven’t yet returned to full time ministry. No, I cannot yet drive myself anywhere in case there are some of you who forgot this most troubling bit of information. I continue to work hard at rehab 9 hours/ week. Speech, occupational (they work with the upper body primarily) and physical therapy (mainly concerned with the lower body) keep me busy.
I am exhausted after each session but I am getting stronger every day. After 50 some days of rehab I reckon I am at roughly 50% of my pre-surgery movement. Now this is not overall strength, for I just recently advanced beyond “air curls” to 3 pound weights with my right side. But this certainly beats 0%! Today I asked Benjamin, my 15 year old son, if I could punch him in the stomach with all of my strength. He agreed. Let’s just say that he should be safe for many more weeks.
And then there are the daily frustrations that decrease a little bit every day. I am now 100% independent as far as the daily tasks of life are concerned in case there are some of you who were wondering.
Karla and I have spent many hours going over exactly what has happened over the past several months…usually at nightime just before going to bed. The more we talk the more I appreciate just being alive…and the more I appreciate what Karla had to endure. I “missed” much more than I thought I had missed. And the amnesia inducing drug I was given for the open heart surgery (that I was not given for the brain surgery) well, let me just say thanks to all the physicians and others who invent such things.
Although Karla says “…just doing what I promised you 22 years ago…”, my love and appreciation for her has grown exponentially. And my love for God, and His personal care for me has also increased. I don’t mean to make Karla out to be crass, but when a person takes a vow, it is for keeps…and there will be times of “sickness.” I have no idea how a person with no faith in God, who is rightly identified as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” could make it through the kind of trial we recently endured.
Now, as far as processing all of the events of the past few months. Some of you have confided in me that you too are having difficulty processing these things as well. The church that I shepherd nearly lost this undershepherd. My friends, I encourage you to begin processing these things for yourselves by taking a good hard look at Romans 8:28-29 once again: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” All things for good. It’s what the verse clearly says. Even so, I feel like we’re all, especially Karla and me, experiencing some of the symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome!
Everything is so normal once again, yet nothing will ever be normal again.