I committed to blogging more frequently in 2011. Considering that I haven't written anything since the middle of January, it would seem that I'm a failure. But we had a family issue during the past few weeks that kept me from posting regular thoughts online. Almost three weeks ago, my father had a small heart attack. Although it scared our family (causing all of my siblings to drop everything and converge on the hospital), it didn't seem too serious. But further examination of my father's heart revealed the need for open heart surgery; two weeks ago dad had quadruple-bypass surgery. My father is probably the toughest man I've ever known, but this surgery hit him hard. He was in the hospital just four days after the surgery before they sent him home. And since then he's been at home, slowly recuperating and getting stronger day-by-day. Dad will make a full recovery, but this will usher in a new period in his life. It will require significant health adjustments on his part to ensure that his heart will remain strong.
I don't want to share too much about the past few weeks because our family prefers to keep some things private. But God utilized this situation to provide me with some observations/lessons that I think are worth recording.
I'm so proud to be my father's son.
It was unbelievable to see the outpouring of concern for my father. During this time, I was able to fully realize how much he means to other people. I even got to meet (for the first time) people who credit him for being a major presence in their lives. My Dad has always been my hero but I'm beginning to recognize how much I resemble him. He's creative, pastoral, has a sense of humor, and is relentless. And I'm glad that I'm like him. No doubt: he's made me the man that I am.
I'm proud of my mother and siblings.
Obviously this entire experience was taxing on my mother, but she's been a machine during the past couple of weeks—spending marathon hours in the hospital. Both my parents have workoholic tendencies, and Mom was able to channel hers into caring for Dad. Additionally, brothers and sisters filled specific roles during this time: Becky came down from Indianapolis and took care of Mom; Chris was the resident medical expert, able to communicate exactly what was going on to the rest of the family; Tim held down all the business matters, keeping things going and hidden from Dad. And the in-laws (Josh, Mandi, Heather, and Kelly) all stepped up and pitched in to keep us sane. God has blessed us with an amazing family, which made this whole process bearable.
You have to take care of yourself.
My father has constantly lived life in the service of others. He operates at 100 miles per hour to care for family and friends. As a result, he's done a poor job of making sure he was doing well. I want to respect this, because Dad's committed to give his all for others. But there's still plenty of work left for him to accomplish and, in order to see this fruition, he's going to have to commit to look after himself better. It's a good reminder to me too because I have some of those tendencies in my own life.
The saying goes, "never waste a crisis." I know that I didn't. While the past few weeks were tiring, I'm just grateful to have my father here. I'm looking forward to seeing how he embraces this next chapter in his life.