Does It Have to Take a Heart Attack?

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

A heart attack can do wonders for your family and church relationships – if you will let it. Thirteen years ago ago while doing some cement work at my cabin, I had a serious heart attack. Three weeks later, my wife and I lost our ‘special’ son due to neglect by his caregivers. Life will never be the same ever again.

Let me share a few thoughts that have been on my mind a lot these past years. These proverbs may help you. Of course, these truths can be more personal when you experience a crisis for yourself – that is, if you survive.

1. Life is short. None of us will get out of this life alive. We all will leave – by the rapture or by the grave. Never take your life for granted. Even when the doctor tells you are in good health, he cannot guarantee it. You will not always be together as a family.

2. God is good. His mercy and love are poured out every day. His life and His work are the only things that have eternal value.

3. Every day is beautiful. Every day is special. Never take any day for granted. “This is the day that the Lord hath made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

4. Things are not important – people are. Your wife is. Your children are. Friends are special. Don’t take your relationships ever for granted.

5. My wife is more beautiful. She has always been beautiful, but the years have taken their toll on both of us physically – but now I look through different lens. I now appreciate more and more her inner beauty and character that only years of love and care can magnify.

6. My children are wonderful, my grandkids and great grandkids are perfect. They all take after my wife.

7. People say such nice things. I have learned that I need to say words of appreciation before people have heart attacks. It is better than reserving them for the funeral.

8. We really do need each other. I need you. I was independent and self reliant – and then suddenly helpless. I began to appreciate all who are there for me – the ambulance drivers, the emergency crew, the Doctor, all the nurses and the Pastors who drove 80 miles to be by my side.

9. I am learning to overlook many little things that used to bother me. I now know we are all human and we all make mistakes. It is a shame that all people do not see things as I see them today – but I have learned to be gracious and give them the right to be wrong.

10. I am now looking for ways to downsize. I do not need all the ‘stuff’ that I have accumulated. If God had called me home I would not want to be one who would have to sort and get rid of it all.

Oh, that we would treat each other always the way I have been treated during my heart attack and my son’s death. I have never been treated better. God’s people may not be perfect, but they are the best people on this earth.

When you have faced eternity and have been given more time – the colors are more vivid, the birds sing louder and common foods taste better. God help me to always appreciate family and friends as I now see them.

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