Friday, April 24, 2009

Heart 2 Heart

Last night I received a phone call from the brother of one of my dearest friends, Sandy. He was calling to tell me that my friend – his sister – was in a local hospital with heart failure. My friend is 8 days older than I. I am 51.

From the of age two, we lived next door to each and for the next sixteen years were cohorts in both the good and evil schemes which we planned and implemented. She was with me during Tim's last three days of life, and helped me to get him into hospice right before he died. She has been there for me through all of life's major events. And vice versa. Sandy is a major persona in my life.

Upon calling Sandy, I learned that her doctors thought her condition might be due to one of these conditions, or perhaps a combination of these conditions:

1. a blockage in her arteries
2. a virus/bacteria left over from a recent URI had traveled to her heart
3. a vitamin/mineral deficiency due to gastric by-pass surgery performed some years ago

Sandy had an angiogram this morning and the results were good: no blockage. At this time, her doctors will treat her for numbers 2 and 3. If she improves, she will go home Saturday. This is an answer to prayer – and a quick one, too.

My friend is in a very high-level position with a school district in Texas. She is also working on her Ph.D and stays busy in both areas. Perhaps too busy. I’ve often asked Sandy what she does for fun. Her answer is always the same, “Nothing. I work and study.” All work and no play make Jane a dull girl, and maybe a sick girl, too.

While talking with her, I lovingly suggested the following to her:

“Sandy, while making a living, don’t forget to also make a life.”

She said those were wise words and that she would think about it.

In our busy world, I think we could all use this piece of advice. I know we all have to work to support ourselves, our children, perhaps our elderly parents. Somehow, however, we must learn how to balance our lives.

Make no
mistake about it, stress -- from whatever cause -- can and will kill. Stress may take you out swiftly with a sudden and unexpected heart attack, or it may cause a dread disease that will gradually suck the life out of you. Then you die.

In recent years, I have learned to say “no” to things. That was a hard lesson to learn, but it pleases me to be able to say I've become pretty good at it. Through that lesson of life, I find that I have a greater level of joy for the things to which I do say “yes”, and appreciate having more time for my friends, my family, and myself.

To my busy family and friends: just think about it. There is more to life than work. Seek balance. Practice balance. Learn to say “no”.

Just do it. Your heart will thank you.