Easter Vigil Rebirth

Restart My Heart

We have just heard the scripture readings for the Easter Vigil.  These readings are an abbreviated summary of salvation history – the story and promise of more life to come!

Listen to St Paul to the Romans 6: 3-11.  Are we unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried with him in Baptism so that we too might live in newness of life.  Again, we know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.

Jesus died once for all for all time!  He died for each one of us!

Would you like to hear a story the good Lord reveled to me to share with you this holy night!  Ready or not here it comes.

On Friday morning October 21, 2012 I underwent open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and repair an aneurism which had developed at the top of my heart.  When I woke up I remember thinking, the good Lord must have wanted to keep me around because I am still here.

Normally a patient with this type of surgery gets sent home after five days.  However, I discovered I wouldn’t fall into that normal category.  My heart rhythm was beating in what is referred to as A-Fib or irregular heart rhythm.  I was told my heart rate was varying between 90 and 150 beats per minute even though I was lying in bed.  As a result my doctor was concerned that I would have a stroke or heart attack and he had experience doing thousands of these surgeries.

With preventive action came numerous medications which were supposed to correct or control the A-fib.  Among these where blood thinning pills and  intravenous medication to prevent a blood clot.  Each time my doctor came and visited he would sit down as if his mind was working hard to figure out what to do net.  I began to understand the meaning of practicing medicine.  I could see he was becoming more and more concerned because the medication plan wasn’t changing the rhythm of my heart.  To add insult to injury the taste of the hospital food was growing worse and I almost didn’t sleep at all.

On the 5th day I was told I wouldn’t be able to go home until my heart returned to a normal rhythm or they came up with a game plan.

Finally on the seventh day they sent another heart doctor to see me.  This doctor told me I could go home with the A-fib condition and hope that it went away.  If not in seven weeks I would have to come back into the hospital and have my heart restarted.  Or I could elect to have my heart restarted the next morning.  I choose the next morning after all the good Lord had kept me around this long!

But before they would restart my heart they had to run a tube down my throat to look at my heart to make sure there wasn’t a hidden blood clot there.  In that case a restart would likely result in a stroke or heart attack!

So I was told I could not drink water after mid night so I would avoid throwing up during the procedure.

Finally I fell into half wake half asleep state.  I was very aware as that my mouth, throat and tongue were becoming more and more dry with every breath.  I recalled words of Psalm referring to the dry patched earth.  I clearly was aware all I wanted was a drop of water on my lips and tongue!  Where is that water?

With every breath the dryness of my mouth and throat became more and more painful.  In fact my breathing became very labored.  I was keenly aware my body was working very hard with each breath.  I wasn’t looking fo4ward to the next breath.  Oh heck I could not wake myself enough to call a nurse.  The dryness continued to get worse and worse.  My mind began to wonder if I would make it through the night.

As I laid there many feelings rushed upon me.  I was physically tired.  I hadn’t sleep for days.  The food was awful.  I was growing spiritually discouraged and depressed.   Again my mind began to grapple with the idea I just might not make to the next day.

It was then, that I began to think about how Jesus suffered on the cross.  His mouth, tongue and throat must have been at least as dry as mine, the pain as great and the breathing more labored.  Not only was his mouth dry and his breathing labored.  His feet and hands must have ached beyond comprehension.  The muscles of his arms, shoulders and chest must have been screaming for relief from exhaustion.  The overpowering pain from trying to hold him up so he could breath was suffocating him.

Gravity and the weight of his body was overcoming every last once of strength left in his body.  His eyes must have been burning as blood and sweat rolled off his forehead.  The fly’s and insects had to have begun to eat him alive.  He could not move his hands to drive away the insects or wipe the sweat and blood from his eyes.   There was nothing he could do but wait.

It was then that I looked to my left.  There looking back at me was Jesus Christ laying next to me and He was on his cross.    He looked at me as if to say – I am with through it all.  I will never leave your side.  I love you.  No cross is too heavy, no sin too great, I did this once for all so that sins might be forgiven.  I am always with you and I will not fail to fulfill the promise and grant you newness of life.

No matter the darkness of the night or the depth of the pain the good Lord is with you and will not leave your side.  No matter seriousness or difficulty of life or lateness of time there is hope for each and every one.  He did this once for ALL.  No greater act of Love was possible!

The next day my heart was restarted and I recovered so quickly I was sent home where the newness of my new life began and continues as I stand here this greatest of nights to share this testimony!

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