The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. – Psalm 121:8
First – and this is important – please don’t think I’m sensationalizing sensitive personal medical information by splashing it all over the Internet. So I guess I need to remind everyone of how the story started in Monday’s “E.R.” post:
- “Normally I wouldn’t write much about a “medical incident”, but when several hundred people are on campus for the front end of an emergency it makes sense to tie up the loose ends in public too…”
Our own “Men Who Stare at Goats” moment:
It turns out that we (and by “we” I mean all of us) are susceptible to the occasional extreme fluctuation between our adrenaline ramping everything up (heart rate, dopamine, blood pressure, oxygen to the brain, etc.) and its polar opposite.
There is the rush, and then – sometimes and without warning – there is a sudden correction where the pendulum swings the other way – going way too far – and things (pretty much everything) suddenly shut down.
When that happens, the body (my body, your body) says, “Pay attention! You know what, I believe we need to lay down.” But when the body fails to listen – typically because “whoever” is busy at the time… you know, like preaching or something – the next step is to pass out, “Look out!” the body says, “Ha-ha-ha, see, now I made you lay down!”
So what we have learned from this diagnosis (and the doctor said it’s not a “maybe” or a “we think” but a “100% we know”) are some strategic interventions (not preventative so much as helpful) that we can implement to reduce the likelihood of something like that happening again. Additional hydration, flat shoes, electrolyte supplements, managing stress, potassium, salt, comfortable clothing….
“But listen to this,” the doctor said (and I’m paraphrasing here); “I don’t care if you’re the healthiest, fittest, most active human being on the planet, this is something that can happen, seemingly arbitrarily, without regard to any variable you may think is in your control.”
Not fatalistic but doing what we can while understanding the limits:
So we have tools in hand, preventative interventions we will most certainly put into play, and that is good. The verdict on “the heart” is sound, and that certainly helps us feel better. And now we know what to do if anything like this ever happens again: “Lay down; hydrate; breathe evenly; stay laying down.”
We are all vulnerable, it turns out. We all inhabit these quirky, persnickety, influenced-by-a million-variables, subject-to-malfunction-without-a-moment’s-notice bodies.
We are all, in one way of another, resting in the hands of Almighty God. And that’s okay, when I think about it. Because – try as we may to do our best and be our best and live as responsible stewards of the gift and never take anything for granted – we are not masters of our own fates nor are we captains of our own ships.
And, strange as it may seem, that is a most comforting thought and understanding. I am in your care, loving God; we – all of us – are in your mind and in the palm of your hand. We are gravely responsible, yes, but we are not the beginning nor are we the end. We are yours, Lord. We are not alone. We are your children.
Grant us humility as we follow Jesus, and teach us to honor God in all that we are and all that we do. Amen.