Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bionic Man

In December I wrote a an entry on this blog called "Predisposed towards sudden death..." Here's an update.

I have a rogue gene in my body. It could cause my heart to miss a beat for too long a period of time. Good chance I'd die. As my doc says ..."you're predisposed to sudden death." My brother has it. We think my sister might have died because of it. All my kids need to be tested.

What I have is called 'long qt syndrome'. They don't know much about it because it's hard to study. You don't know you have it. So you can't sign up to be part of a control group. You find out you have only after you've died, come close to dying or someone close to you dies or comes face to face with death.

I'm fortunate. I know I have it. Now I have to make a choice. Do I put a defibrillator in my chest or not? That device would restart my heart if that rogue gene shorts out my internal electrical curcuits.

The choice is pretty clear actually. I'll start the process of going bionic.

There's soemthing very sobering about all this. It's not terrifying. It just jars your sensibilities.

It's funny. I cling to life even though I know this isn't my final destination. Jesus said he has a place all prepared for me. That's pretty cool. I believe it. And yet, I cling to life.

You know why I'm clinging to living? For sure, I want to spend a whole lot more time with my wife and kids and friends. But there's something else. I don't think I'm done yet. I mean, it's like deep inside me, I know there's something else I'm supposed to do before I leave planet earth. There's some adventure I'm still destined to take. Some 'assignment' left to fulfill.

What's so exciting about all this is that I think that what's left for me is going to be something right in my sweet spot. I mean, I think it's something that's going to be really, really interesting ...something matching my gifting and passions and intersecting with some deep need in our culture.

In other words, I can choose to grab on to this 'gift' of becoming slightly bionic and choose to really live. Or not.

Maybe that's the crucial question for all of us. Live or not live? Surprisingly, a whole lot of people I know choose to 'not live'. Know anyone who whines, doesn't tap into their God-given passion, who exists only for pleasure, who doesn't give a rip about others, someone who's sloppy, apathetic and lost zest for anything good and noble? They're not living. Not really. They wander through life, die, and are soon forgotten. No legacy. No real footprint left on planet earth.

Could that be you?

I've been given a gift. I've been confronted with the fact that I won't live on this earth forever. I could die tomorrow. So could you. But the odds are that I'll beat you. So, how will I live today? What needs to be put into motion so that I don't live with any more regrets? Maybe it's ego, hopefully it's more noble than that. but I want to leave a legacy. I've often said I want my funeral to filled iwth people crying their eyes out. More importantly, I want to be welcomed into heaven with Jesus looking deep into my eyes and saying "Well done, Mike. Welcome home".

So, sometime in the not too distant future I'll get fitted with a defib device in my chest. It will be a pain going through security at the airport but it could prolong my life. That's a gift. What will I do with that gift?

Sometimes I think I'm a slow learner. That's why God sometimes needs to get my attention in some pretty abrupt ways. But He does have my attention. I'm not going to waste this opportunity.

So, God is always about the business of getting our attention. Maybe he's even using these words to speak to you. So, what are you going to do? Live. Or not.


GerryG said...

Mike, Thanks for your message as it really moved me. It made me begin to think about how important now is, and what I am capable of doing with it. As you said, I can lay down, I can take it easy, I can just exist, but that seems narrow minded, even boring. I think, like you, that I need to make a difference in this life before I leave this wondrous place. I think I will start with the good book today and see what adventure it has in store for me.

When I was 18 years old, I was faced with something terrible that changed my life forever. My mom "Bonnie Kay Gelzaines" had been fighting a long battle with Heart Disease. She taught me the best she knew how, and I miss her for that reason more than anything. At that time my dad was doing what salesmen often did back then, and he drank, along a dark lonely path of self destruction - it was a way of life for him that he embraced.

I remember this day so clearly, as my younger sister Laura (age 13) and I were getting ready for a new semester of school as it was truly important to us. My two older siblings up to that point did not academically reach their goals in school so I was to be the first and I did not want to let anybody down.

This one day was different as Laura and I discovered my mom on the floor in the kitchen. I noticed a huge bump on her head. She was not breathing so I began to resuscitate her. Even with my best efforts she remained there peaceful. It took 22 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. It seemed more like a life time. In that time however I conforted my little sister, even though I was deeply hurt inside.

I later had found out that my mom had agreed to try an experimental procedure 27 months earlier to help not only prolong her life but also to improve the quality of it.
I also learned that if she had chosen not to have the procedure that the doctors gave her less than 3 months to live.
To this day I am humbled and grateful I had that blessed time with her. All sorts of emotions ran through my head back then, anger, confusion, betrayal, deep sorrow. Today however, I am happy for who God made my mom Bonnie to be.

The procedures have changed immensely over the last 18 years and if she were alive today technology would most likely of saved her life. Scary to me as she was 48 when she died, which is the same age I will be this April, which make your words that more powerful to me.

My prayers are forever with you,


Mike said...

Gerry. I'm humbled reading your comment. You've been through a lot ...even more than I realized. I'm fortunate to have a friend like you.

GerryG said...


Thank you for your kind words, however I respect you as you are a bit older and much wiser then I.

The gratitude is all mine as I am blessed to have had God point me to a path you walk.

How cool is that.


Randy Siever said...

"Everyman dies. Not everyman really lives." William Wallace, Braveheart

Go bionic, dude. Run through the tape. It took God a long time to make you this smart...don't waste the effort.

I have always hoped I would die like our old friend George Scheffer did...with a smile on his face (according to his lovely wife's testimony, anyway, whose grin made it perfectly clear what she meant). One moment in temporal glory, the next in eternal glory.

Rock on.

Mike said...

At George's funeral ... Marty said, "He died right after we made love." George was like a 101 yrs. old. When she said it ...someone in the back of the church shouted out ..."Way to go, George". A great Young Life moment.

Randy Siever said...

That might have been me in the back of the church...

Mike said...

Why wouldn't that surprise me? I still remember George speaking at Woodleaf ...weekend camp for our region, I believe. Crusty, real, alive, loved Christ ...great, great, memory