“…the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things will I give you if you fall down and worship me." - Matthew 4:8-9Unlike as was my case, most other folks awaiting heart valve replacement surgery have gotten off pretty easy. Barbara Walters and Robin Williams, for example: a noticeable shortness of breath or perhaps or a bit of dizziness or fatigue. In otherwise good health, these people had the luxury of popping in and having their surgery and were out of the hospital in less than a week.
I had to do it the hard way. Unlike their experience, the conditions leading up to the emergency replacement of my heart valve were dire indeed. I had a massive infection, the full extent of which I didn’t fully appreciate until after the operation was over. At the time, I only knew I was in the hospital feeling like death warmed-over. Quite frankly, I was more than prepared to accept the “ultimate relief” that such an outcome might have brought..
While hospitalized, I had precious few visitors; mostly family and a few very close friends. One visitor was a woman who believed in “other unseen forces”. She chatted with me briefly before explaining about an amulet she was wearing – a Hebrew “Chai” symbol which she believed had helped six other of her friends, and herself, survive life-threatening situations. Though she was fully aware of my lack of belief in things paranormal, she hesitantly offered to have me wear the “magic amulet” prior to my going into surgery.
If one thinks about it, likely many of the personal convictions and values we may hold are, in reality, merely “academic”, particularly when viewed within the context of our normal, healthy, everyday existence. I chuckle when I recall back as a teenager in high school I felt strongly that our country should be fighting in Vietnam, keeping the Communist menace at bay. Not surprisingly I held those strong convictions until, whereupon my 18th birthday, I was required to register for the Selective Service (Draft). Harsh reality can sometimes force us to reexamine our beliefs.
So now my visitor had placed before me a dilemma, a challenge to one of my deepest of convictions – what should I do? I could just say “what the hell” and accept the “magic amulet”. I could easily rationalize my choice by simply claiming that it certainly couldn’t do any harm.
I thanked her but politely declined the offer reaffirming both to her, and to myself, that I would not accept, not even under life-threatening conditions, that there are supernatural powers which hold dominion over our lives. She left taking the amulet with her.
I accept that I survived because I just happen to be fortunate to live in a time and place where open-heart surgery is now a routine occurrence, when new technologies and pharmaceuticals are continually evolving, and because I tried to maintain my physical fitness in preparedness knowing I would need this surgery some day. Rather than rely on faith of magic, I placed my TRUST in the people who deal with these issues every day. It was, and is, the right choice for me.
~~~I am only recently able to spend a bit more time in front of the computer. I've missed visiting my followers and leaving comments. I anticipate that will change in the near future. Thanks to all of you for your supportive comments. ~ RTS