Youngest Refugee on the Block

It’s been a strange week or so, which had all of the following:

  • Becoming a Refugee
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • a phrase full of truth
  • and coming home.
**not necessarily in that order.
For the past few months, I’ve been bustin’ it pretty hard on all fronts.  Yet, like a treadmill runner, putting on the miles but getting no closer to accomplishing much visible progress. Well, maybe that’s true.  It certainly is a perception.
Feeling the pressure to be minimally productive at home, in relationships, at the office and in local ministry I was driving to work last week thinking, “not sure today is possible.”  Then, without asking for it, the Lord instills this nugget in my life, “my blessings are more than enough for you.” That doesn’t happen too often, unfortunately.  And, if this had come from any Christian friend, I would have felt like opening up a can of righteous indignation on their Christian-easy input.  But, coming from the only one who actually can make that true, it was life sustaining, substantive, “take-another-step-enabling” nourishment.  Cool, right?
Then on Sunday, it was my turn to preach.  Um, first, um real sermon without any other motive but to teach the Word.  The passage, Psalm 31.  I preached on how we must live out the fact that Christ is our only source of refuge.  And, how we should lay aside our worldly status and our ability to produce security and comfort and instead take on whatever He would give us – for His glory and our Kingdom inheritance.  I really enjoyed preaching and hope it was relevant and true.  You can listen here, feedback is welcome.
Little did I know, I would have the chance to put these words into actions.  Around 3pm on Sunday, I started to experience discomfort in my chest – a strange tightness.  I went to bed and woke up with the same sensation and a feeling like my heart was racing, fluttering, um, doing the Ickey Shuffle. Cute, but not entirely helpful.  I went to the office and lasted till afternoon before I was too distracted to work.  I was thinking, this most likely is a bit of anxiety or heart palpitation that just requires a short nap.  I’m not a doctor, but that seems logical, right?  By evening, around 30 hours of feeling like a rock tumbler, I decided (with much prompting) to go the ER.
Within, oh, 30 seconds, they start moving with purpose, getting on the horn and prepping me for the ride upstair to the Cardiac Care Unit. I sort of figured they would only look at me and send me home.  Not so much.  I spent the night, the youngest kid on the cardiac care block.  After a lot of tests, all known causes for atrial fibrillation were determined not to exist.  But, the AF persisted all night but subsided with medication meant to slow my heart rate from 140bpm to around 100bpm by 6am.  Not much sleep, but my chest cavity was finally able to rest.  Hopefully this was a one-off 40 hour carnival ride.  With no known cause it seems to be a fluke, most likely made possible by the afore mentioned stress load.
So, after a sweet homecoming, hugs and snuggles for all, Sarah and I talked and now see the writing on the wall.  We’ve known for a awhile that I need to find daily moments of peace and a few substantive days of retreat.  It’s not really too optional.  How, when and what that looks like remains to be seen.  If His blessings are more than enough for me, then perhaps spending some extra time in His presence is a smart approach.  So, pray that making this a priority becomes our reality.  

If He is our Refuge, then it’s time to be a Refugee!


8 thoughts on “Youngest Refugee on the Block

    • Bart, it’s nice to rely on you for covering me and my family in prayer. Looking forward to being in your midst soon. (I’ll explain that use of words when I see you.)

  1. Sorry to hear that you’ve experienced the result of working to hard. What helped me in a similar situation 2 years ago was to force myself to start taking it easier. The work is not worth sacrificing your health for & you can’t continue working if you’re sick. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but it’s a must you want to survive. So you have to take a step back, look at your work load, start prioritizing & saying NO to new things until you got the old stuff done. Easily said but very difficult to do, I know. But I see no other way. I wish I could help in some other way than just giving obvious advice… Take care & take it easy, be more laid-back, enjoy Cyprus & work less! Warmest wishes from your friend & his family

    • I agree with my “Afghan brother”
      Been there, felt that. You are not the first one suffering from that kind symptoms in that department so I have been afraid that something like this would come.
      Wish I could help in some other way than praying!

      • Hi Anders,

        I know that you care and that you understand the intense nature of this work. I’m taking a much wiser approach at this point. Work hard, get what is possible done and then go home, leave it and take time for rest. Hard to do but necessary. All-in-all, I feel well-supported here and my boss understands that we’re in a tough situation now. So, I think it is possible to get through at this point. Your prayers certainly do matter. When we are weak, the prayers of our brothers and sisters carry us through. It is a tangible experience.

        Also, I owe you an email…I’m still deliberating the possibilities of your suggestion. I need to spend just a bit more time thinking before I respond. I haven’t forgotten!

        Appreciate your support and caring for me and my family. Say Hi to yours on our behalf.


  2. Whew! God usually finds ways to slow us down, but it really hits home when he ever-s0-skillfully uses one’s health! So glad to hear that medication was able to accomplish the task r/t your heart, now to accomplish the daunting task of dealing with the cause. I am so-o-o glad you are coming back to the states to visit soon, but I wonder whether your hectic schedule back here may need some tweeking. I’ll be praying for wisdom in that direction. Give Sarah and the kids a huge hug, as well as yourself from us. Savor the physical conact and smiles, being reminded how important these times are. We love you…..Diane and Dad

  3. Thanks for sharing… I needed to read this today. I’m sorry about your heart, and I’m praying that you will be able to make wise changes that will help relieve your workload.


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