Monday Morning Boost: Grateful for the Journey of the Heart
I am feeling all sorts of emotions as I write this Sunday night.
Wednesday, November 23rd, will be one year since I woke up after heart surgery.
I am remembering the chest pain and shortness of breath that grew in intensity over 7 weeks while incredible medical professionals attempted to figure out what was not working right. While there were many unanswered questions, confusion, and even moments of deep fear, I had faith I would prevail.
During this time, I thought often of Admiral James Stockdale who spent 7 years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton. “You have to understand,” Stockdale said, “it was never depressing. Because despite all those circumstances, I never ever wavered in my absolute faith that not only would I prevail-get out of this-but I would also prevail by turning it into the defining event of my life that would make me a stronger and better person.”
Like Stockdale, my journey has become a defining event of my life and it is a significant portion of ‘the’ defining moments of my life I call the “Journey of the Heart”.
The Journey of the Heart is much more than just this past year of miracles that have kept me alive. It’s the spiritual, emotional, and mental journey of the heart I have traversed over the last several years. The importance of this portion of the journey was spiritually conveyed to me. Essentially, through the whispering of the Spirit of God, I gained a clear understanding I would not have survived the physical journey of the heart had I not first walked the spiritual journey.
God was clear in what He was telling me…
“You are alive, my son, because you first got your life in order.”
The space between heaven and earth is miraculously thin, a truth personally affirmed for me when that space briefly parted a few short hours after I came out of heart surgery. Through the murky veil stepped my Dad, who had been gone for 7 years at the time, to share his one piece of counsel that sticks most firmly.
“Keep your chin up, son.”
Of all Dad’s lessons that permeate through my life, this one means the most. Through these five brief words, shared only rarely when life was extra challenging, Dad’s spiritual journey from Heaven empowered me with the strength and courage to keep getting back up.
And get back up I did.
❤️When it took all my energy and willpower to breathe, when the coughing hurt intensely, I got back up.
❤️When I quit breathing after a blood clot hit my lungs, and I literally thought for the first time I was not going to make it, I got back up.
❤️When the discouraging darkness began suffocating the light in my soul and filled me with despair, I got back up.
Sometimes I was able to get back up on my own. Other times I needed help. Through the journey of the heart, I have better discovered the three key types of getting back up.
- Getting back up through your own strength.
- Getting back up by accepting the help of others.
- Getting back up by being picked up, stood up, and propped up by others.
While I have experienced each of these at different levels, number three holds the record. Without the help of others who have literally and figuratively picked me up, stood me up, and propped me up, I would literally not be here.
First and foremost (not a cliche phrase in this instance), I am filled with deep gratitude for the many miracles of God that kept me alive.
I am grateful for the many doctors, nurses, therapists, and aides, at all levels and positions, who worked hard to keep me alive, who comforted my fears, who answered my many questions.
I am grateful for where I am today. I am grateful for the healing. I am grateful for the strength and energy and passion to climb a lot of stairs.
Most of all, I am grateful for love.
If you watch this video, taken immediately as I was waking from surgery, you will see my feeble attempts to express love for Elisa, our children, and God.
Love is what I felt.
Love is what I wanted most to share at the moment.
I love God. I love my incredible and beautiful family. I love those who believe in me and find confidence in my words. I love those who are creating their stories of love and greatness.
I love you.
I love your greatness.
I love your brokenness.
I love you exactly as you are.
I love your journey of struggles.
I love your journey of greatness.
I’m grateful for a journey of the heart.
Have a beautiful Monday. I love you, my friend!
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to reflect on your own Journey of the Heart.
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