More Autobio 

More Autobio 

                                   Chapter 80  Forced Adjustments

In 1993 I began to have chest pains that then migrated down my left arm. I got a stress test done, but it did not indicate that there was anything seriously wrong. However, I took the pains as a warning and decided that I needed to begin eliminating some of the stress present in my life.  The Lord helped me to identify what I now call “junk stress,” that is totally unnecessary stress that I created myself.  Stress, I learned, is actually an inward response to an external stimulus. Two people can be in exactly the same situation, with one being totally stressed out by it and the other completely calm.

For instance, two drivers come to a stoplight. One sits there, looking at the cars around him, observing the people in them. He does some small motor exercises while waiting, and prays for his family. He experiences zero stress.   The other driver nervously drums his fingers on the steering wheel, looks repeatedly at his watch, fiddles with his tie and talks to the light, telling it to hurry up and change.  He is very stressed. His reaction to his wait at the red light is intensified because he left home late, meaning he would be late for his next appointment.  Plus his wife was unhappy with him when he left. All of this adds up, so now he is stressed to the max. That was a picture of me!

As the Lord led me through a time of looking for the stress that I unnecessarily manufactured for myself, He showed me them one at a time.  Primarily, I was trying to fit too much into my days.  After a full day of meetings and visits, I would try to squeeze in a stop at the bank, a stop at the gas station, then buying something from the grocer’s and dropping by the printers to pick up work I’d left for him. Of course, this would make me late in getting home, which would create even more stress for me and my family.

With the Lord’s and Barbara’s input, I learned to be more realistic in my scheduling and to cut back on spontaneous additions to my day.  This made a definite difference— my chest pains went away. There was also a hereditary factor in this chest pain scenario: all the males in my family have high cholesterol–it doesn’t matter how healthily we eat, our bodies just produce it. As a consequence, most of the men in our family have had heart surgery or have died of heart attacks or both. So my doctor put me on a statin. I hoped that this would protect me from any serious heart problems. I was to be disappointed in that, but the Lord would work a  marvelous outcome.

In late August of 2004 the son of our landlord called me and said, “I must move out of my rented apartment in four weeks,” he said. “I want to move into yours. So you must move out before the two weeks are up!”

As always, it is a shock when we have to move, but that’s part of being a renter. We prayed for God’s guidance in finding a new place.

The locals have a saying, “Look for good neighbors, not a good apartment.”  Ending up with bad neighbors can make life miserable, as one of our teammates had discovered recently. He and his family had moved into an apartment above an old woman and her son, both eccentrics. They would often bang on the radiators if they thought someone was making too much noise and would call the police to come and “straighten out” any neighbor who bothered them in some way.  It got so bad that our teammates eventually had to move out.

In my search for a new apartment, I started with a price limit for the rent; that filtered out about 90% of what was available. And of those places within the price range, most were either unlivable or too far from public transportation.   We did find a reasonably nice one in a good place, with neighbors who seemed ok, but it was two flights down from the street level so was quite dark, and the view from the living room was of the roofs of the houses in front of us.

The next apartment we visited was just the opposite: two floors up, bright and sunny and airy with a nice view. In fact it was so bright with the afternoon sun shining in that Barbara put on her sunglasses. As we left the apartment, she went ahead of me toward the stairs in the dark hallway, while I asked the real estate agent some more questions.

With her sunglasses still on, Barbara started down the dark stairwell but, unable to see well, she lost her balance on the top step and fell. I was too far behind her to help and watched in horror as she basically flew through the air all the way to the bottom of the stairs, landing on her face on the marble landing and then ramming her head into the marble covered wall!

I ran down the stairs to where she lay still, facedown against the now blood-spattered wall. In my hurry to help her, I did everything wrong. I rolled her over, scooped her up in my arms and carried her out to the real estate agent’s car. If she had had a spinal injury, I could have made it much worse by doing this, but the Lord graciously overruled. And He more good instore for us….

Picture: diligent Barbara in her hurt state

May be an image of 1 person, sitting and indoor