The light turned green and he didn’t go…so I blew the horn. I was busy and had many things to do that were important, at least to me. My children had needs, so I worked them into an already overflowing schedule. I was justly irritated when someone else chose to block the right turn lane and make me wait an additional light cycle at the traffic signal. I blew the horn then too. I wasn’t being a jerk or making gestures with my hands. I was just busy and in a hurry. I am important, at least in my own mind. If people would just follow the rules of the road it would help, but there are other ways people disappointed me. I’m sure I couldn’t hide it. This is life in Raleigh and we’re all in a hurry all the time.
“My heart is beating really fast” my wife told me Monday evening. “Take a few deep breaths and it will help” was the cogent advice I gave. My mind was racing. I was still frustrated from my day and the people who got in my way. Tuesday morning she asked how fast your heart is supposed to beat. I didn’t know. She asked if 190 was too fast. She had my attention now! I remembered from gym class in college that one’s maximum heartbeat should never exceed 220 minus your age. Most of us never get close to that, even when we try. I tried not to panic but I knew enough to know this was a serious condition that needed treatment. She elected to go to her OB-GYN. She was overdue for a check up and thought she’d “kill two birds with one stone.” I was nervous but a doctor is a doctor and she got an appointment that day. She came home with a prescription and a diagnosis that didn’t sit well with me: anxiety due to menopause and treatment with an anti-depressant. That was going to be a “no” for me…
Moving more quickly now, I began dropping things off my plate and focusing on things that were important. We needed a cardiologist and not a psychiatrist. It was Wednesday and we were able to get an appointment that day due to a cancellation. Our cardiologist had a new diagnosis of
atrial fibrillation (AFib) and a serious treatment protocol resulting in an electric shock rather than Paxil (a perfectly good medication entirely unsuited for treating a heart condition). Early Thursday we reported to Wake Med to undergo two invasive procedures: the first to determine if there were blood clots or other abnormalities that would contraindicate the second procedure which was actually shocking her heart with electricity. We have a happy ending. Jeana’s heart is in a normal rhythm and we have medications to help keep it that way. We may never have answers but we will have regular visits with our cardiologist. Jeana’s mother was just 11 years older than she is now when she passed from a sudden heart attack.
I began to wonder with how many people have I been impatient? Might they have been dealing with something equally unexpected and life altering? Might they have been dealing with something much bigger or much worse? I’ll never know and neither will you. Life is fragile and it should be handled with prayer and not just care. Everyone we meet is either dealing with something big or on the edge of dealing with something big. Any one of us can have our lives turned upside down in a moment’s notice. The mere definition of a “crisis” is that it is not planned.
I dropped a few things in my crisis. A few emails were returned late. A few projects not completed. I received grace and I am very grateful. Where might I need to extend grace? To whom? Who might you need to extend grace? Not everyone who disappoints you or slows you down is incompetent. It may be that they are doing the very best that they can and need to see Jesus in me…and in you. For my part, I’ll be a lot slower to blow my horn. What about you?
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” Colossians 2:12-15
Peace & Partnership,