Today begins a series called “Letters to Tom.” This is not meant to be the Great American Novel but as I heal I feel the need to exercise the brain as well. Please provide comment.
You are correct in saying I am setting out on a new journey.
When I was told that I needed a transplant I was frightened of course, but remember telling Rebecca that if I could survive the surgery, I felt oddly freed. Perhaps free, for the first time, to pursue a pathway emanating from my heart; not originating from financial pressures, others’ needs, or false expectations. Well here I am.
I believe that God has brought me to this point for a purpose. Yet the purpose is unknown. As you suggest I find myself asking as I contemplate a totally new life, “will this new life work out? Can I change so dramatically and still hold dear the precious relationships that have pulled me through the storms of the past?” Your Sufi poet Saadi said, “every being is born for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose is kindled in its soul.” How do I mine my soul for this guiding light?
Therefore, your suggestion of “take a moment to breathe before I begin” rings true. An athlete is trained before each critical moment to take a deep breath before beginning — whether it is shooting a crucial free throw, putting a critical putt, or serving for the match at Wimbledon. I remember identifying with Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game, clearing the mechanism as he took to the mound each inning by closing his eyes, taking a deep breath, and shutting out all outside distractions.
So I look on this recovery period after surgery as a time to breathe. It is a time to breathe in all that has proven to be so very precious to me these last few weeks. I remember right before surgery the anesthegeologist saying, “Say your goodbyes.” I knew he meant I should say goodbye for to my wife and children who were in the room, but the goodbye was to be temporary. But my mind went further than that. My mind raced not only to my family but to the love of others that had been expressed in so many ways. Perhaps my concentration at that moment on the love of my family and the many others who reflected God’s love, pulled me through the surgery, and can explain why I never experienced pain afterwards.
So dear friend I take your advice – to take a deep breath of the love I received and still receive, and to clear the mechanism of the distractions that have been roadblocks to my following God’s path before. Then I will be prepared to face the challenges of the unknown and during this breath the pathway I am called to take will be illuminated.