For the first time in seventeen years here in Northwest Georgia, according to the local meterologists. We got over three feet of snow earlier that year, in the middle of March. That was back when global warming was still known as seasons.
Christmas, for all of it’s hustle and bustle, is a time of reflection, and of recollection. So I have spent some time visiting with the ghosts of Christmas past today, remembering friends and loved ones who are no longer here, and giving thanks for all of those who still are.
I have also spent some time reflecting on the Reason for the Season, and acknowledging that without his grace and mercy, I would not be here. I spent Christmas of 2001 in an ICU, due to complications from chemotherapy.
I was admitted on the Friday before Christmas, with an embolism that it took doctors 13 hours to find. They spent the next four days trying first to save my leg, and then to save my life. I spent the next four days in a drug and pain induced haze, more dead than alive, too weak to open my eyes and too tired to care.
When the doctors gave me a clot buster to try to unblock the artery, I started bleeding out through my kidneys, so they had to stop it. But I continued to lose blood anyway, and they couldn’t figure out why. I received 14 units of blood over the course of that four days. The more they gave me, the faster my counts dropped, and my pulse and blood pressure dropped so low they were virtually nonexistant.
I could hear everything that was being said around me, but I could feel myself drifting away. The farther I drifted, the more I wanted to keep going, but I could feel the power of prayer pulling me back. I was close enough to feel a sense of peace unlike anything I’ve ever know, and I didn’t want to let it go, but it was not my time.
Late in the evening on Christmas Eve, my vital signs started to improve slightly, and I was able to sit up long enough to eat a few spoonfuls of applesauce and drink some water. By Christmas day, I was eating turkey and dressing from the hospital cafeteria, and proclaiming it the best I had ever had.
Every day since then has been a bonus, every Christmas a gift. I am always mindful of that, and it has carried me through some difficult days. My prayer for all who are reading this is that your days be filled with laughter, your hearts be filled with compassion and gratitude, and your lives be filled with joy and wonder.
crossposted on The Dixie Highway