Purpose Behind The Pain

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
~ Proverbs 27:19

It turns out having heart surgery is different from any other surgery. It’s more mental. It’s not a hernia repair or an appendix. I didn’t fracture a wrist or have my tonsils removed; this is the heart. It’s why, on the night before the surgery, I finished up handwritten letters to my parents, my wife, and my daughters – letters I hoped would never be read. Goodbyes, thank-yous, suggestions on how to move forward, and above all else, gratitude and appreciation for a life that can only be described as truly happy.

In the days leading up to the surgery, my mind flooded with the happiest memories: Michigan summers, Tennessee falls, ocean breezes, slurping Slurpees, locking eyes with the cutest girl in school, being a young dad, hotdogs at the game, friends old and new, and hugs given and received. Not a single regret, only the good things.

The mask covered my nose and mouth, and then…darkness.

When I came to, my heart was fixed, sewn up, sealed up, done. This wasn’t a final chapter; this was merely a painful page. The story continues. Now as I heal, I’m thinking about how to best fill the added pages. How do I hold on to that feeling of staring at THE END? How do I keep those memories flowing and the regrets at bay? How do I make sure the kindness and support shown to me by so many never fully fades?

My heart is fixed.
I am changed.
I must remain changed.

After all, that’s the purpose behind the pain.