A few weeks ago on Sunday afternoon with a good friend in town, we were headed to a movie. My cell phone rang, the caller id displaying my dad's name. A little unusual, but I didn't think anything of it. In the next few minutes I learned that doctors in Boone, NC had determined that my mom had had a heart attack, and that the local hospital was not equipped to provide proper care for her. My dad made the decision to transport her by ambulance two hours away to Charlotte, where the much larger hospital would be able to provide the care that would be necessary. He was headed home to pack a bag, grab the dog and rush to Charlotte himself. As I hung up the phone I felt empty; I was 8 hours away, and there was nothing I could do. Suddenly, my journey down the path took an unexpected turn.
In the next several minutes all of the 'what if' thoughts poured into my head. We began discussing whether or not we should go, could we go, how would we get there, all the details we weren't planning to be discussing on a random Sunday afternoon. After some silence, Donnie said, "I can't tell you what to do, but I know if I went and wasn't needed, I would never regret it. But, if I didn't go and was needed, I would always regret it." I'm thankful that he said those words. Within 60 seconds we were online looking at flights, calling my sister Debbie and making plans to go. Within 60 minutes, bags were packed and we were making the final arrangements. At 9:30 pm we landed at the Charlotte International airport.
By the time we arrived by cab at the hospital, my mom was settled into a room, hooked up to an assortment of hoses and gadgets. My dad had arrived safely as well. The next day was full of tests, blood work, and waiting. Late in the morning moms doctor informed us that the first test showed absolutely no blockage. This was good news, and we were thankful. He also said that even though the heart was clear, he was concerned that it was weakened. He ordered another test, and by 7 pm he returned to the room with the results, and the news was good. Not only were there no blockages, the heart was undamaged, and strong! We were amazed, thankful, and yet puzzled. I remember mom asking, "so, did I have a heart attack or not?" The doctor said there were no signs of a heart attack. This was good news, but didn't explain the chest pain that sent her to the hospital to begin with. He told us he would do a CT of her lungs the next day to ensure that they were clear. By mid-afternoon Tuesday we knew the results; her heart, and her lungs were fine. The doctor went on to explain that this could be as simple as a pulled muscle. He is giving her something for pain, and it seems to be working. I am praying that as each day passes she will feel better and better. Oh, and I'm thankful that it wasn't more serious.
|October 8, 2010|
As Debbie and I flew home that Tuesday night, I remember feeling a little guilty. I was very thankful for the outcome, but in my spirit I felt a gentle reminder that regardless of the outcome, I needed to always be thankful. It was easy this time, but what if the news hadn't been so good? I know what my bible says, but the reminder did me good. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5, "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings, and I know I know that, I've just got to do a better job of living it. I do know that when I make a conscious decision to do what God says, I always see situations from a better perspective. When I do God's will for my life, I find it easier to be joyful and thankful. Maybe you will too.
I'll use Tommy's challenge as a reminder to be thankful, this month, and always! I'll see you a little later, a little farther down the path.