Friday, March 28, 2008

THANKFUL/Entry for March 28, 2008

As you can see the next blog will not come out until next Thursday because I am celebrating.
First, I am celebrating the fact that today is my 17th wedding anniversary. Patty has been and still is the best thing that ever happened in my life. I have often said in speeches and meetings across this country that the solution to the problems in the mental health systems in the different states is to find a Patty for every one of us. She is more than I ever hoped for and far more than I probably deserve, but she has chosen to stay with me and for that I am grateful. It has not been easy because it is not easy to be with someone too depressed to get off the couch or so manic they can’t stop. Or a person sexually abused so many times as a child that they find trusting another person almost impossible. I can’t count the times I have tested her love or for that matter my family’s love. If I am this bad will you still love me? How about this bad? Patty has stayed.
Second, I am celebrating a year since my surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the aorta, the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. The aorta, about the thickness of a garden hose, runs through the center of your body. Because the aorta is the body's predominant supplier of blood, a ruptured aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding. Although you may never have symptoms, finding out you have an aortic aneurysm can be more than unsettling. Each year, approximately 15,000 people die of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in the United States.
I had my surgery on March 28, 2007. Patty said it was not a very good anniversary present. The next morning she heard one of the nurses come in and say something like, “he is still alive” sounding surprised. Yes I made it and the year since I have only had to deal with a couple of minor heart problems and some kidney problems. I feel truly lucky to be alive. They found it while doing a liver scan. Well actually I don’t feel lucky. I feel like God is walking beside me.
Which brings me to my main point. When the sexual abuse started I was only four years old and I cried out for Jesus to rescue me. He did not come. It hurt like hell. When I started getting sick from my bipolar illness I asked to be healed, but it did not happen. I turned away from God and the church. I stopped preaching or even going to church. Then at Patty’s Dad’s death bed I was asked to say a prayer. The moment I said amen he passed on. I felt God in that room for the first time in my life. I had been in Sunday school since I was a baby. I began preaching on the mission field in Africa at 12 years old and was pastor of a church in Kentucky when I was 17, but I felt God for the first time on the hospice unit of the VA hospital in Asheville, NC in May 2006 when Patty’s dad died.
The odd thing is I now know he has been there all along. From the first abuse in the barn, each time I lived on the streets, every time I was locked away on a mental ward and each step I took in life. How do I know it? Because if He had not been I would not be celebrating today. You would not have been reading my blogs. Patty and I would not have had these years together.
Oh yes, He has been there each day, each hour, each minute. Now I know it. Now I feel it. Call it another of my delusions, but this one please don’t try to take away. This delusion I need. He kept me alive all these years for a reason. This is the season of His reason.
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