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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Haggard Mind-- Lost, Restored, and Redeemed

Tuesday morning, July 23 2013, I got up and took Roxy and Boomer (two Australian Shepherds) for a morning walk. Good for their training. Good for my exercise. We covered about a mile. I was carrying a fishing rod, and stopped by a neighbor's pond. Just a dozen casts or so. I caught a 5-inch bluegill, then an 8-inch bass. And then a hawg bass pushing 4 pounds. Yes! A great day, and just getting started.

I got back to the house and shared the fish experience with my wife Cheryl. I turned my attention to a news story on the TV, and felt a full wash of emotion. Strange, for a road construction story. I sat down in my office chair, and leaned forward, letting my head wash out. Obviously, I needed breakfast.

So I went into the kitchen and poured a bowl of cereal and milk. With my hunger subsided, I got up and placed the bowl and spoon in the kitchen sink. As I walked down the hall, I was washed with that... feeling... again. I sat down and put my head between my legs. Cheryl came by and asked what was wrong. I told her I didn't know, but I had this dizzy, emotional feeling. Weird.

Some time later, minutes I didn't recognize, Cheryl saw me still leaning over, a blank stare in my eyes. No explanation. She dialed 911. I visited with paramedics that arrived, but couldn't tell them what was going on. No problem that I knew of with my birth date, name, stuff like that. They handled me like a stroke victim.

At the hospital, I was answering questions. Almost all of them with wrong answers. I could not remember our daughters' names, my parents' names, my brother and sisters. I don't know now if I truly knew my own name. All I knew was, they moved me to a room. In reality, the hospital determined it was not a stroke, and started running test after test. Myself, I was pretty much lost. I knew nothing. I felt very little. I did not know anybody except my loving wife, and that only because she never left my side. I had memories of events that never happened, and no memory of real life. I was totally alone and completely lost. Or so everybody feared.

There was someone else with me through it all. Day after day. Night after night. Minute to minute to minute. From the very beginning of it, I felt Him at my side, holding me in a loving embrace, warming my heart, calming my fears. With no ability to think at all-- and with all my feelings turned off-- I finally came to understand completely God's greatest command to me. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22.37)

My Lord kept me from being totally lost and alone. I forgot all my family and friends and work. I even forgot myself. But I never forgot any single point about God my Father, and Jesus Christ my loving Savior. By His grace and love for me, Jesus sat beside me; wrapped me in his arms; spoke into my ear and into my heart. And now I fully understand the real truth about being saved by Him. He saved me not so I would serve Him, but because He loves me. And now I serve Him not because I owe Him, but because I love Him.