How to find the light in an upside down world
My father recently went through a serious health scare. It was a really challenging time for my family. I am sharing the details in a series of blog posts hoping that it might help others.
Last week I described the problems that Opa faced while in the hospital.
It was a challenging experience for him, and one that we will not forget.
Navigating in an upside down world is not easy.
In this post, I will tell more of the story about what happened while he was in the hospital. It was not an easy journey for him.
Opa is in a rehabilitation center so you already know that the story ends well. Unfortunately, he faced more darkness before finding the light.
It is okay to be scared
The time finally came when the doctors would install the pacemaker into Opa’s chest. Putting a pacemaker in place is not a major operation like open-heart surgery. None the less, there are risks associated with the procedure.
Two doctors spoke with me about the risks.
The reality is that Opa is old, obese, and not in great health. As a result, there were many potential risks. By the time the doctors finished walking me through everything, I was scared for Opa.
I never expected to hear that he might die during the procedure, but that was a potential possibility. In fact the risk was somewhat high.
I want to make sure you understand that it is okay to be scared of these types situation. No need to act like everything is fine. Don’t put on a tough guy mask. Instead, reach out for help.
Ask your heavenly father for help
The first place to go for help is God. God is always there for you. He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Asking God for help is easy. Simply talk to him. Pray to God. I already described how I pray as part of my morning routine in another blog post.
For an emergency situation like this one I keep it simple, real simple.
I asked God to intervene in the situation. In this case, I closed my eyes and asked that God let my father survive the operation.
I added that if it was God’s will for Opa to depart this world that God take him quickly without any more suffering.
The last thing Opa needed was more pain and suffering.
Don’t expect the clouds to part
Nothing special happened after I was done praying.
The clouds did not part.
I did not hear an audible voice say that everything was going to be okay.
I did not hear a small still voice either.
I do not know any other way to explain it than I felt better about the situation after praying. The future was in God’s hands which left me comfortable with whatever happened next.
If you cannot trust God with your future, then I am not sure who you can trust in this world. He is the best first person to turn to for help.
Trust God in the light is nothing, but trust him in the darkness…that is faith. Charles Spurgeon
You learn to lean on each other
The other place to turn for help is your family.
I called Uncle Perry to talk about the situation. Uncle Perry was a great help this entire time. He is strong. He thinks clearly in high stakes situations.
He knows how to make a wise decision, especially when it matters most. He and I talked through the risks, and how we would handle them.
We decided that we would take one decision at a time, rather than attempt to figure everything out right then. Cross one bridge at a time.
No reason to worry about the next bridge until you get to it.
I liked this approach.
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand We all need somebody to lean on I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on
Lean on Me
It is hard not to cry when your emotions are running high
Both Perry and I thought it was important that Oma visit Opa before the procedure, just in case things did not go well.
Perry brought Oma to the hospital. Oma’s visit was tough.
She was able to talk to Opa, but he was not very responsive.
As I explained in the last blog — his mind was wandering to other places.
I was in the room as she tried to talk with him, unable to connect. Seeing her struggle made me sad. It was more than I could handle. My emotions were running high and I needed to release them.
I stepped outside so that they could be alone.
I went into another room.
The tears came quickly.
It is hard not to cry when your emotions are running high.
It is perfectly natural to cry
In fact, it is perfectly natural to cry in these situations.
I do not want either one of you to ever feel like you cannot cry.
There will be times in your life when you will feel so sad, or you will experience so much pain that you need to cry. Do it. Do not be afraid to cry.
In our modern society, we have somehow come to the wrong conclusion that it is unmanly to cry. We say stupid things to little boys that create this culture.
“Don’t cry like a girl”.
“What are you crying about?”
“I will give you something to cry about.”
These lies we tell boys are wrong. It is okay to cry when you need to.
I am not saying that it is okay to cry all the time. Rather I am saying that it is okay to show your emotions when the situation warrants it.
The strongest men in the Bible cried
If you are looking for examples of strong men who cried simply open the Bible. Both the Old and New Testament stories contain examples of strong men who cried.
King David is considered one of the greatest warriors in Ancient times.
He slew Goliath as a boy.
Read the Psalms if you want to understand how David handled the toughest moments in his life. He does not veil his emotions.
He was not afraid to let the tears flow.
The Apostle Paul is considered by many to be the greatest Christian missionary. He wrote about half of the New Testament.
He traveled the world spreading the Gospel, and was martyred for his faith.
He was not afraid to show his emotions and cried on several occasions.
If it is okay for King David and the Apostle Paul to cry, then I think it is okay for you and me. You their examples to give yourself permission to cry.
Jesus My Lord and Savior cried
One last example from the faith.
It is recorded that Jesus himself cried.
He did not stand there like some emotionless stoic when faced with extremely sad scenarios.
No. He showed his emotions — which included crying in certain situations.
If Christ is okay with crying, then so am I.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.
I cry more often than you realize
Neither one of you has seen me cry much. It has probably been a few years since you last saw me cry.
If I were to guess, I would say the last time you saw me cry was when I melted down in front of you on Thanksgiving Day several years ago.
I tried to keep it together, but there was a lot going on that day.
More than I could handle so the tears flowed.
I am comfortable letting you know that I have cried many times since then, just not in front of you.
There is a specific reason from my childhood that makes it difficult for me to cry in front of others. I am not going to share the reason why now.
But, I do want you to know that I cry more often than you realize.
We may be our strongest when we are weak
Back to the story. I finished crying and went back into the room.
Oma was not sure what to do. She has not been able to reach Opa.
He was still somewhere far off in the darkness.
I walked over to the other side of the bed and held Opa’s hand.
I let him know that Oma was in the room.
“She is here?” Opa asked.
“Yes Dad, Oma is here,” I replied. “She is standing right next to you. Is there anything you want to say to Oma?”
Opa turned to Oma and said “Ich liebe dich.” Then he cried.
Opa was starting to come out of the darkness.
In his weakest moment, he found the light.
He was preparing to leave the upside down world.
Later the staff came to take him down for the procedure.
I will tell that part of the story next week.
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.
Originally published at www.lettertosons.com on March 18, 2018.