What a difference a year makes.
This time last year I was in the ER with my beloved best friend, waiting for an ambulance to transfer him to a hospital across town. In the face of a life-threatening illness he was supernaturally high-spirited, an inspiration and utter mystery to his doctors.
Apparently he had multiple blood clots in both lungs and a painfully dangerous fluid buildup. After bringing him back from near flat-line, he was in and out of consciousness for a day and returned to the ER a week later.
Each doctor cheerily offered the comment that people usually drop dead from pulmonary embolisms, and the pain from his pleural effusion was a rare and lucky warning… So him still being alive was great.
They never figured out the cause. Just so we’re clear on the gravity and awesomeness of what went down and up here…
Apparently pulmonary embolisms are usually caused by blood clots that form in your upper leg from sitting around too much, and/or being really overweight which messes with your circulation. Sometimes clots even form because of a combination of an injury and bad circulation. If a clot breaks free it can travel anywhere, like a tiny bullet inside your veins. And if it hits heart, lungs or brain the effect, as our doctors dryly explained, is sudden death.
None of this had happened. The clots disappeared just as stealthily as they came, never to return.
Crazy, right? Even crazier was that the moment it started unfolding we were both praying constantly, together and individually. It was so dramatic and sudden we knew clearly where to focus, and it wasn’t on our confused and clinical doctors. I can only imagine what it was like for him.
I was surprised by how hard it was for me.
The circumstances created a clear picture of how much I needed to heal and grow. Apparently I had some silent killers too: My ignorant reliance on my best friend for comfort and peace instead of God; A dangerous obsession with being everything for everyone instead of myself for me, and for God. I had so much to learn and, of course, no idea.
What a difference a year makes. A month. An hour.
Today it’s hard to believe it even happened, except for the painkillers and blood thinners left over.
His name, Ebenezer means stone of help in Hebrew, and he was always my rock. Even when it seemed he couldn’t offer support and comfort God used him to point me toward the true rock, our one unshakable source of peace, strength, comfort and joy.
I’ve been writing for a while now about how critical it is to change the way we think, our habits. Thinking habits dictate the way we live our lives.
For me, it’s been a long journey to arrive at the place of awareness about how powerful our thought patterns are, and how at any moment the choice of peace changes everything.
Part of my journey had to include this pretty violent experience to learn me some things:
Sometimes God will put Himself in a context-clear space. So you can see, He is your choice. And the best one at that. The context clarity is that even with the best of care, with love, with family, money, shelter, food, friends, the outcome is in His hands. Your spirit is in His hands.
That clarity then simplifies everything else. All the drama and urgency and worry and burden we attach to our everyday stuff washes clean of any weight, and falls in line under what’s most important. When you get to the place where you have everything, but really all you need is prayer… You realize how backwards you were.
Prayer is first.
Not the last, dramatic, desperate Hail Mary of a tragedy. Prayer places you above all the stuff, and makes sure you’re always in the best place no matter what’s given to, or taken from you. So every day you carry with you, the plan of attack that resets how you live, moment to moment:
What a perfect reset for what really matters: At some point we all have to realize it’s not about ourselves, our friends, family, our relationship, our money, our job, connections, opportunities, health, struggles dreams or even…
As we buzz about our worlds, striving toward our purpose we act after we’ve thought.
And if for any length of time we don’t place God first in our thoughts and before every action…
Especially the little ones, we’ll look up and realize we covered a lot of ground and maybe, just maybe we were going in circles. Or backwards. Or struggled with every step.
Maybe, just maybe, someone we didn’t realize was watching saw and followed in our footsteps, or took the cue to embrace struggle when we didn’t mean for them to be impacted.
Your spiritual, mental and emotional health matters.
You’re making a difference whether you intend to or not.
All those little conversations with God make sure you leave life, inspiration, and change for the better in your wake instead of mess, destruction, or confusion.
I hope your sights stay set high, always and that you live in the peace that comes with the right perspective on life.
Without God we have nothing. With Him, even when it seems you have nothing, you have more than anyone could ever lay hold to.