Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 2, 1958
NUMBER 22, PAGE 5a-6

Thank God For My Heart Attack!

Lloyd Moyer, Richmond, California

This may sound rather odd to most people since a heart attack is considered one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person. Truly, a heart attack is a terrifying experience. As I felt the agonizing pain creep up my arms and begin to lock hands in my chest and crush out the air that I was fighting desperately to get into my lungs, I realized that it was an attack. It was the following night when the doctor revived me to inform me that I should not live through the night. I knew very little that took place during the next ten days. It was then that they removed me from the critical list.

As it dawned on me what had happened, I became frightened. I began to shake. My pulse rate increased. Then I began to cry. After the nurses gave me sedation, the doctor arrived. I told him that I not only needed a heart specialist, but I needed a psychiatrist as well. Only then was I cognizant of the fact that the greatest battle I should have to fight would be that of mental discipline. I would have to control my thinking!

Whereas I had been feeling sorry for myself, I knew that I had to begin to look for the pleasant, the beautiful, and the good. As a result, I have found many things for which to be thankful. I believe by my listing some of the blessings that have come to me as a result of my heart attack that others may receive comfort and consolation. FIRST, I came to appreciate God truly. My life, for the last twenty years, had been spent in preaching the gospel of Christ. Yet, I did not understand what a blessing faith in God was until I reached the point in life where man could do no more for me. I lived each day with my trust in God. As I prayed each morning and each night, it really meant something to say, "Father, I thank you for sparing my life through another day or night." God means more to me now than ever before. So did I come through the experience of a heart attack.

SECOND, I found a greater appreciation for my fellow man. As I lay completely helpless and wholly dependent upon others, I began to notice the many, many nice things they did for me. It seemed that everyone thinks only of my welfare. Truly, people are unselfish. Within one month, hundreds of dollars came from all over the country to assist me in my time of stress. This was un-solicited. People heard of my attack, and out of the goodness of their hearts they gave. Thousands of cards, letters, telegrams, and phone calls expressing prayers in my behalf proved to me that my fellow human beings are not so self-centered as some would have us believe.

THIRD, I had a close-up view of science in operation. Most of us go through life without a knowledge of the marvelous feats of science accomplished every day. Very few people appreciate the efforts of the scientist who isolates himself from the world in a laboratory for years of research. Little do we realize that our lives depend to a great extent upon the results of their labors.

The medical profession cannot be given enough credit. The doctors and nurses did everything within their power to relieve my suffering and to make my stay in the hospital as pleasant as possible. I was there nine weeks. May God help us to never take for granted the great service rendered the community by those in the medical profession. (I have heard of people who would not think of failing to pay their grocery bill, yet think nothing of "beating" their doctor bill.)

FOURTH, I have gotten acquainted with my family. For years I had been so busy in my work that I had neglected to get to really know my family. These past seven months I have been forced to be in bed. As I watch my wife and daughters minister to my needs both day and night, as they gathered around my bed for a time of cheerful conversation, as we prayed together and laughed together, I came to know and appreciate them as never before. I learned that my oldest daughter still likes to come to Mother and Dad for advice although she is nineteen years old. The many times she has come to my bed and talked over some problem has been very rewarding to me. Being constantly around my twelve-year-old revealed to me that I knew nothing of the thinking and life of a little girl in that bewitching stage of life. It is remarkable what a difference going to Junior High school makes in the life of a girl this age. These two girls have given me a completely new view-point of the process of growing up. Yes, I have received quite an education in the last few months.

Possibly the greatest joy has been the privilege of watching my six-month-old daughter develop. I only saw the other girls for a few minutes at a time, and I was away from home much of the time. But I have been with this one all the time. I now realize what most fathers miss in life. This has truly been a blessing to me.

Words fail me as I attempt to describe my feeling for my wife. Although we had been married twenty-five years, there had never existed that nearness and dearness between us that now exists. We both know how nearly our life together came to a close. We both know that it can be over any time. Therefore, we live each day to its fullest. As she assumed the responsibility of the family, the financial burdens and yet remained cheerful and radiant in my presence, I began to get a glimpse of the woman God gave me. Our discussions as to how she should handle things after I am gone will prove a blessing though they were very difficult at the time. Many wives are left unexpectedly with responsibilities for which they have had no training or preparation. I am thankful that I have been given time to arrange my affairs as best I can.

FIFTH, I see the beauty of Nature. I never realized just how beautiful the sky, clouds, trees, mountains, and flowers were until I went outside for the first time after my attack. It is an exhilarating experience just to step outside and inhale deeply the fresh, pure, clean air that God provides. In my mad rush of life, I had been passing up most of the beauty around me. As I take short walks each day, I can stop and enjoy the fragrance of the flowers along the way — I never knew that there are so many different kinds of flowers.

SIXTH, I have learned how to live in slow motion. This may sound strange, but the coronary patient must do this. Most of us go through life doing things so rapidly with our minds on the next thing that we must do, that we do not enjoy what we are doing. Now I relish eating. Once I hated to lose time to eat. Shaving is no longer a chore, but I really enjoy it. Walking used to be just a mode of getting from one place to another; now it is a most satisfying experience. To the old adage, "Take it easy," I would add, "Take it slow and easy." The modern "rat-race" way of living reminds me of a teen-ager with a "hot-rod" taking off with all the available power to speed down the block only to have to skid the wheels to stop. I may never get as much done as I did at one time, but I will enjoy doing it.

SEVENTH, the saying that "we must take the bitter with the sweet" could well be reversed. It is a bitter experience to suffer a coronary thrombosis. Yet the sweet is present if we will only search for it. For example, it is impossible for me to sleep without sedation. However, this wears away between three and four o'clock in the morning. Instead of my spending these hours rolling and tossing, I spend them in meditation. I relive my happiest experiences. Self-examination is profitable for all. I feel that in the quite hours of the morning one can more effectively examine himself. With proper introspection our attitudes will improve. With proper attitudes one cannot help but feel better.

EIGHTH, since I must spend seventeen and one-half hours out of each twenty-four in bed, I have adequate time for reading. In books I find a completely new world opened. I have found that by reading books I have been able to discipline my mind. When I find my mind dwelling on some problem, a good book quickly corrects the situation. (Yes, I do face my problems and dispose of them, but a heart patient cannot worry about them.) Many new and inspiring ideas have come to me through my reading of books. My vocabulary has been increased, and I find it easier to converse intelligently on a greater variety of subjects.

NINTH, I suppose that just about everyone intends to write a book sometime. By reading, by much meditation and by proper utilization of my time, I have been able to complete the manuscript for my first book. It is a wonderful thing for me to sit down and put my thoughts into print. It helps to weed out the bad ideas. I suspect that many of our ideas would wind up in the waste-basket if we should just write them down and read them objectively.

TENTH, most people live in a world of fear. We fear poverty, criticism, loneliness, old age, and death. After suffering a heart attack and being told by three physicians that I should not live through the night, I know what it is to close my eyes thinking that I will never open them. After such a severe coronary attack, one learns to be prepared to die at any time. Death no longer lurks as a dreaded monster. In view of death all other fears seem superficial. One learns to live each day, to enjoy the good things, and to try not to worry about the bad things. Since my attack, I am conscious of the fact that I may not be long in this world; therefore, I intend to enjoy what time I do have left. To do this I cannot spend valuable time in worrying about things over which I have no control. This would not only dishearten me, but it would make life miserable for those around me. A good philosophy is that if we can do anything about a situation, do it; if we cannot do anything about it, then it will do no good to worry. I find it difficult to follow this always, but I am sure that I come closer than before my heart attack.

ELEVENTH, life after death holds a greater appeal to me than ever before. So long as we enjoy good health, we give very little thought to life after death. It seems that we think we have a lease on life here. But a heart attack will quickly eliminate this idea. One cannot but think about what is to be after death. I shudder to think of what this experience would have been without my faith in God and in the hope of Heaven. The things of this world hold a great attraction for us. However, when we face the fact that we are not long for this world, they seem to lose much of that attraction, and we begin to think more about what is to be hereafter.

Even though heart disease is number one killer, there is no need for you to give up because you have suffered a heart attack. If you will try, you can find happiness and joy even in time of trouble. I have strong faith in the words of this Bible verse: "For our light affliction, which is for a moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." (2 Corinthians 4:17).