There is wisdom found in the whys of our thoughts, feelings, and actions; wisdom that brings understanding and wisdom that brings clarity. Let me share how this has been true in my life for the past seven days. A week ago, yesterday at about 5 pm, I was getting ready to pick my husband up from the Airport Shuttle in our hometown. He had flown into the Minneapolis airport in the afternoon. As I was preparing to leave our house to pick him up, he was making the last of the hour and a half jaunt back to Eau Claire in the middle seat of a 15-passenger van. What you don’t know is how anxious I was about his arrival. Let me back up a bit and tell you what had happened the previous morning. I was awakened at 6:49 with his text, “Hi Laura. Can you say a prayer for me? I’ve been up since 3:30 am with chest pain. Thank you.”
My husband was in Boise, Idaho, and sent me these alarming words from his hotel room. I asked him several times to go to the doctor, but he was certain the pain he was experiencing was indigestion. He went on to work a full day and spent the evening with co-workers and clients. I continued to check on him and was concerned when Friday morning brought the same pain. After repeated requests for him to go to the doctor, he assured me it was a digestive issue and proceeded to travel home. I sent a prayer request to a few friends and spent the day trying to keep myself busy as I waited for his texts to update me on his progress home. In the meantime, I called the doctor’s office and inquired what they suggested I do. The nurse explained the best course of action would be to take my husband to the emergency room once he arrived back in Wisconsin.
As soon as my husband exited the Airport shuttle van, all sorts of emotions flooded my heart. I was so relieved he had arrived safe, but I felt desperate to get him to the hospital to evaluate his chest pain. Once he was safely in the passenger’s seat of our car, I drove the ten minutes to the hospital. The strange thing was how talkative my husband was. He shared with me his trip, and he told me more about how he was feeling. After we arrived at the emergency room, the nurse took his vitals and prepared him for an EKG. I thought maybe it was indigestion like my husband thought all along because he kept talking and seemed in good spirits. However, once the test began, the nurse monitoring the test quickly called for help. Suddenly people filled the room, and I was told things were serious. The physician’s assistant explained my husband had experienced a heart attack when his chest pain woke him in Idaho 36 hours earlier. Shaken, I sent a text for prayer, and I called our adult children and asked them to make their way to the hospital. I was placed in a family waiting room while they took my husband to the cardiac cath lab. The nurses told me to pick up the phone in the waiting room when it rang. Grateful for the company of two close friends, the three of us waited for the ring. The call came, and I was told there was much work for the doctor to do. The nurse asked me to continue to wait and said she would call me with more information soon.
Almost two hours later, the doctor stood before me. He gently said, “It is a miracle your husband is alive.” I listened to the doctor’s instructions, and I silently rejoiced, thanking God for His work. I didn’t have time to process what might have been. I thanked God and cried tears of joy and relief. My husband spent the weekend recovering and was released home Sunday afternoon.
As this week progressed, different emotions lay on the surface of my soul. Some felt right- the joy, the thanksgiving. Others, though, felt wrong, and I couldn’t pinpoint why. I told myself each morning, “He is fine. Everything is okay. Be happy.” I did feel happy, but I felt sad too. It was in my quiet time I brought my heart to God. I asked, “Lord, why do I feel sad? I don’t understand this mixture of sadness alongside the joy.”
In wrestling with the whys of my thoughts, feelings, and actions, I have learned to pay attention to all that is there. Not to be self-absorbed, but to let awareness come. The awareness provides clarity for me as God helps me sort through what is in my heart. As I sat with Him, He showed me the why of my sadness. I spent the week grappling with the truth that life does not stop when we need it to. It doesn’t allow us to breathe and work through what is going on in our inner being, especially when things change and difficulties arise.
This is why I became a why wrestler. I realized how my inner life led me. In all honesty, my inner life is not always a place of peace. God’s Spirit is there. He is waiting, but it isn’t natural to stop. I would live busy, which caused me to live from emotions I did not have an awareness of or did not fully understand.
Do you find this true in your life?
God does not force His way upon us. He gently calls and waits for us to come. As I curled up with my Bible yesterday in the early hours, God showed me His wisdom in the whys of my worries and sadness. He permitted me to be exactly where I was. Life says go. God says sit here with Me. The worries and sadness rose from this very fact. The truth is, I wanted the world to stop and celebrate with us, this miracle of life, this second chance. I wanted to worship and pray and call out to God in wonder.
We have Thanksgiving in a few days to celebrate and to thank God for the miracle of Him holding my husband in His hands as he traversed through 3 different airports, took two different flights and a shuttle ride home while the left anterior descending artery to his heart was 99% blocked from blood flow. The chances of surviving this type of heart attack are slim. In fact, as the doctor shared with me, this specific artery is called the widowmaker because most people do not survive an attack of the kind my husband experienced.
The sadness came because all I week I wanted to shout, “My husband is okay! He survived!”. It felt so strange to go to work and places like the grocery store and not tell anyone what we had just been through. It wasn’t because I desired attention but because I desired God to receive the attention He deserves. I was also sad because I know others do not receive the good news and the experience we did, and I was contemplating why. I felt guilty in regards to a friend who’s husband passed away a few months ago. God reminded me it is not for me to decide. Some why questions don’t have immediate answers, and in this instance, I needed to let go, pray for my friend, and trust Him even though it is tough to celebrate while I know my friend is suffering grief and unimaginable loss.
I am not sure what your past week was like or what this week will bring, but in all the good and bad, ups and downs, twists and turns, God is waiting. As we gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, it will be tempting to be too busy to stop, but I encourage you to take time with God despite the busyness of the holiday. Give Him the whys of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and let Him draw you close in His love.