Life After….

Life After a Heart Attack by Lucille Williams

I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life. Not that my life was bad before, on the contrary, I was quite happy with my life, but when your husband has a major heart attack while you’re holding his hand, it changes things. It changed my perspective. It changed my outlook on life. It changed everything.

Even though I wasn’t the one experiencing the actual heart attack I went through it too. I went through the fright. I went through the tears. I went through realizing this could be the end for him. And at the same time, I knew we were in God’s hands. There was a supernatural comfort which I can’t explain clearly enough to give you a good enough picture of it. Supernatural is the best I can do. Can anyone flawlessly and definitively explain God?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9

I also knew life would be forever changed.

What I didn’t know was that it would be a change that would be exceedingly good. How can “exceedingly good” come from a heart attack? It’s almost unspeakable and unfathomable, and yet, just as true.

I’ve always appreciated my marriage, and especially, my husband. I love being married and I love being married to him. Marriage can be the greatest gift and one we need never take lightly. It’s a high calling. It’s an example of how God loves us. It’s a sacrifice that models Jesus.

I know this more now than ever.

I’ve often said, “Talk to any widow about how to appreciate your husband.” I may need to change that to, “Talk to a woman who’s seen her husband go through a heart attack and it’ll change your marriage.”

As we go through years as a married person we can begin to fall into tracks—like a track for a train—which travels through the same route as the years roll on. We get used to the disappointing curves and the natural stops. We may sometimes wish for a roller coaster fun surprise with hands held high in the air as we scream with glee but are resolved to the regular route. The same track over and over. The same conflict over and over. The same compromise over and over.

Where did all the excitement go? What happened to the butterflies? Where are the fun adventures?

I thought I knew how to appreciate my marriage before, but I now have a new clarity like never before.

I’ve learned it’s the nitty gritty that makes for an amazing marriage. The nitty gritty of the small stuff and the nitty gritty of doing the hard stuff.

Minor things don’t faze me anymore. Sometimes I’d allow small disturbances to get under my skin. Like, the way he chewed or the way he would be particular about certain things. Now I’m happy to hear him chew and to watch anything which I find particular about him.

I’d watch him in the kitchen and make sure to let him know, “That’s not how I do it.” But now I realize, “Who cares how he cuts the butter or leaves too much juice in the olives as they get stored in the wrong place in the refrigerator?” Does it really matter? Now I’m happy that he’s in the kitchen and able to put things in the wrong place. I’m happy to watch him put everything in the wrong place now.

Sometimes when he talks he gets details wrong from what I remembered. Does it really matter? Does anyone care that it was 4 weeks and not 3 weeks before we learned that we had a shower leak in our guest bathroom? I always thought my records were right—and maybe they were—but who cares? And maybe, just maybe, I’m the one who was wrong. Can that be? Can I really be wrong? Just let the man talk for goodness sake! Now I’m happy just to hear his version—even if it’s “wrong” (ha-ha!)—of any story.

Things that I thought were minor I realize are really major now.

Like holding hands and hugs and kisses. To hold his hand is magical. To not be able to hold his hand anymore would be so final and soul crushing. Hugs are now like an electrical charge of appreciation and love. And kisses, kisses are a sweet reward of a love over decades.

Long talks and walks are precious like a treasure found unexpectedly.

The nitty gritty of the hard stuff is having the privilege of caring for a spouse in sickness or the privilege of fixing a disagreement. Doing the hard stuff is what makes a marriage gold and worth the grit.

It’s these things, the things we can sometimes take for granted in marriage that give way to those times of “screaming with glee with hands held high in the air like being on a roller coaster.” We just need to stop and see and feel the gift and the blessing. We need to stop and appreciate the love and everyday commitment. We need to lovingly accept all of our spouse.

As I look back, that’s what he’s always done for me. My shoes all over the closet or left in undesirable places causing one to trip. My stuff left on the bathroom counter. My hair that

shows up unwanted and all over. He’s always accepted and was appreciative to take all the nuances that represented my presence. And that’s one more thing I’ve noticed about appreciating and loving him. It’s all part of my second chance on life. It’s all part of loving my marriage even more. It’s all part of how everything changed.

My husband’s heart attack changed everything and made everything more beautiful. My husband’s heart attack changed everything and made everything more beautiful. Even our family has become more precious and beautiful. Our kids and grandkids have a new appreciation for Grandpa and revel in his presence more than ever. Time is something we are not guaranteed and we’ve all learned to value it oh so much more.

For more from Lucille Williams on marriage check out her books, From Me to We, and The Intimacy You Crave. Have kids? Order a copy of The Impossible Kid: Parenting a Strong-Willed Child with Love and Grace or Turtle Finds His Talent for ages 2-6. Subscribe to LuSays today for regular encouragement.

Coordinator of the Heartprints Blog Page: Gaye-Ellen Austin or SonShine has a passion to train people to be successful Bible students, following the words of Paul to his protégé Timothy: “ entrust to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.” (2 Tim 2:2). She taught 15 years in public schools and 12 years in a Christian school where she was coordinator of the NILD program for learning disabled students. She has taught Precept upon Precept classes and was a discussion group leader for 10+ yrs. in BSF in Daytona Beach. Fl. and Atlanta, GA. Also, Gaye-Ellen is the writer for the https://www.facebook.com/bible.org/ She also has her own personal blog page: https://sonshinesjournal.com/ David is a full time director for Bible.org as well as his secular job. He and Gaye-Ellen along with their son, Dr. Mark Austin, daughter-in-law, Dr. Blanca Austin and granddaughter Christina (https://christinaaustinlopez.com.) live in the Dallas area. Gaye-Ellen's goal is to present Christ and live Christ glorifying God. One of her favorite verses about the role as parents, teachers, and adults for the next generation comes from Psalm 78:4, "but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord."

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