The struggles of life are real. We’ve all felt them. I’m feeling them this week. After a series of tests and consultations, I have been scheduled for bypass surgery on Tuesday, May 25. I’ve been on life’s emotional roller coaster all week. You know the feeling. Most of you have been there at one time or another in one crisis or another.
The relationships of life are real. I would have never known I had heart disease if it had not been for the insight of others. After a knee injury last fall, an orthopedist noted a calcification on a knee x-ray, and that one hint led me to my primary care physician, then to a cardiologist, and then to a cardiac surgeon. I’ve been surrounded by family, friends, church staff, and now you. The struggles of life are real. I’m reminded we’re all in this together.
The peace of God’s Spirit is real. I’ll confess, I haven’t felt it every moment of this crisis, but I have tasted enough of it to know that it is there. I’m hoping to feel it in the preoperative moments and rehabilitative moments ahead. I’m learning to trust the words that I’ve so often shared with you, “God gives us what we need when we need it.” Of course, to engage this struggle alone would not be healthy for me or a healthy example of Christian community for you…so…I’m going to ask you for what I need:
1) I will need an extended time of sick leave—six to eight weeks. Our church staff is highly qualified, competent and compassionate. They will manage the life of the church. I’m going to work on getting well. Please continue to be faithful during my absence.
2) I need you to know I plan to be walking, biking, swimming, preaching, praying, writing, counseling, meeting, guiding and participating in all the other facets of my life as soon as possible. I like being in the game.
3) I need to avoid all casseroles and cakes. (These typical Baptist responses would not be helpful in this situation.) Cards and letters are appreciated.
4) I need you to keep me in your prayers. I need that most of all. I promise I will keep you in mine.

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