Once a slave trader, a deserter, contemplated murder and suicide, a drunkard, yet John Newton penned the words which have come to be what is considered the anthem of the Christian faith – Amazing Grace.
One night while at sea in the midst of a storm, when all hope was lost, Newton came face-to-face with unconditional love and was bathed in that amazing grace, God’s unmerited favor.
Newton knew what he was writing about when he wrote about “a wretch like me.”
Newton knew about going “through many dangerous toils and snares.”
Newton had been lost, but he was found, swathed in God’s amazing grace which turned the slaver into an abolitionist and firebrand minister of the Gospel.
From The Crystal Valley Quartet album, Alive & Well, enjoy Amazing Grace.
I really, really did not want to get up so early on this Saturday morning. Chooey was not having it. He whined and yapped at me until I crawled out of bed about a quarter passed 6 o’clock.
A tad over an hour and a half later and I am still yawning, longing for slumber. One cup of coffee down and ready for another. Chooey is snoozing on the couch.
My blood pressure is routinely low. Last night it was quite low. And to think a year and a half ago I was rushed to the hospital with supraventricular tachycardia as my heart rate rushed upward to nearly 240.
Those who keep tabs on me may recall how about four times during instants of SVT, the hospital staff had to stop and restart my heart. A heart catheter turned out to be unremarkable. I also do not have atrial fibrillation or AFib.
As far as my cardiovascular system I am pretty much unremarkable. Yet when I have a specific, right front lobal cluster headache is when I tend to have the SVT and heart attack symptoms. I am not, however, having a heart attack.
My heart rate does have an impact on my sense of being able to breathe. Often when fronts pass through the Cornfield, any movement can have my heart rate rising into the low 100s, which then makes it seem I cannot breathe.
Yet my blood oxygen level usually remains between 90 and 95 during these episodes. Though my body reacts in such a way I am gasping for air, the issue is the heart rate. Once it goes down back to 65 or below I am fine.
That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den as a cold front has moved into the Cornfield.
Fog covers the Cornfield this Thursday morning, but I do not believe it came in creeping on little cat’s feet. The clash of weather systems will make for a gray beginning as the mercury rises.
Inside Mark’s Den, there is similar fog, but of my mind. Trying to wrap my brain around the reality and strive to continue the journey is difficult, but doable.
Today is the last day of another regimen of antibiotics. Once more I managed to dodge another long-term stay at my suite in Regional Hospital.
I thought the heating element was going out on my coffee maker yesterday. I was mistaken. But before I realized I thought wrong, I messaged Mom, who is having a yard sale through tomorrow, and asked if she had one for sale. She did not.
Gray is the day as I look out the door and into the Cornfield on this midweek morning.
Twice already the electricity has gone out this morning. There are no storms, no rain falling at the moment. Yet, the power has gone out for a minute or so twice.
After my cannula broke yesterday, Lincare did get me out a couple of new ones and other air tubes. This was much better than having to wait until today for supplies. I definitely needed the oxygen last night as the air thickened and the pressure on my airways intensified.
Chooey was not himself on Tuesday. This morning he seems to be back to the fur baby that keeps me company and gives me so much unconditional love. Received a great surprise in the mail yesterday.
My dear online friend from Glen Cove, New York sent me a bookmark with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. The words are quite inspiring and beneficial.
Often it is the little things which can mean the most.
Return with me to Sunday School. Samuel was taken by his mother as a young boy to grow up and learn in the temple under the tutelage of the High Priest Eli.
One night, Samuel was waken by a voice calling his name. More than once, Samuel sprang from his bed and ran to Eli’s room to ask what the old man wanted. Eli finally realized God was suddenly calling to the boy. Eli sent him back to his room with instructions on what to do next time Samuel heard the voice calling his name.
God once more called out, “Samuel.” This time, the boy answered, “I am hear and listening, speak, Lord.”
Then there was the time Elijah wanted to see and talk to God. Out in the wilderness in the cleft of a mountain, Elijah waited as a raging fire spread, then a whirlwind, but God was not in the fire or the whirlwind. Then came a still, small voice. The voice was God.
Today’s song is an original written and performed by Mom (Sharon Hollifield) from her album, Gospel Originals.
The song captivates these stories from Sunday School.
One day is good. The next day is bad. That’s the way this roller coaster of life has been for nearly five years now.
Friday was an unusually good day with my health, in particular the respiratory issue. Then I woke up this morning to what has been a struggle thus far.
After noting the benefits of the home oxygen on the cluster headaches, this morning my head is ready to explode. My eyes are heavy, my vision blurry.
Rain rolled into the Cornfield overnight and continues and will continue for at least the next 24 to 48 hours. This is not making life any easier on me or others like me. Today is the fourth At Risk day in a row for those with respiratory concerns.
The second week of August, 2016 is coming to an end. Such a difference when compared to two years ago.
At that time, I spent the entire month of August and the following month of September and part of October in Regional Hospital as well as in hospice care. Whether I lived or died was hanging in the balance.
There was the fear that I may have cancer in my larynx. An autopsy at the end of August, 2014 revealed it was not cancer, but rather histoplasmosis, which was the source of all my respiratory issues.
Now two years later, the histoplasmosis has been eradicated. But the effects, the damage of the fungal infection remain and are irreversible.
This damp Friday in Mark’s Den, I am grateful that the infection was caught in time. I am thankful that God chose life to continue rather than call me home.
While I still struggle from day to day and fight the ravages of not only the histoplasmosis, I contend with Horton’s Syndrome, cluster headaches, and major depression. That depression made even worse by the ups and downs of life. Now being solitary after 10 years of a companion, the darkness too often invades.
As I mentioned recently, the clusters seem to have relented as I have had to make use of the oxygen concentrator more and more during these humid summer days. For that I am also grateful.