Loss, Life and Gratefulness

Today is just over two months since I had surgery to insert the ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) unit in my chest. They tell me I have a “State of the Art” unit. It is actually quite large and is taking a little getting used to.

On Monday I went to have the two-month ICD check up. Technology is fascinating. They lay a device just over my clothes where the titanium box is bulging and the computer inside the box downloads all the activity that has happened in the box to a computer that measures if I have needed the pacemaker or defibrillator. As the nurse was watching the download she says to me in a cheery tone, “You are pacing 99% of the time!” I asked her if that was good news to which she replied, “It is very good news, your pacemaker is keeping you alive.” She then went on to tell me that if I kept pacing 99% of the time that the battery life would last seven years! So even though my heart needs the pacemaker 99% of the time, the defibrillator has not needed to restart my heart – very good news!

I am feeling stronger every day. I don’t feel sick, I don’t look sick and the reality is I have limitations on my physical capacity. The doctors tell me it will take some time for my body to adjust to my heart’s capacity. Next week I have another echocardiogram to see if the retraction rate of my heart has improved since leaving the hospital. Any improvement is good!

Last night I officially resigned as Lead Pastor and Board Chair of VCC. It is so bittersweet. When change happens this quickly it takes time to get in touch with all that goes with the change. I am more than grateful that VCC can continue on under the leadership of Jessica Ketola. I have no doubt Jess is ready and it is her time. At the same time, this transition is happening so fast I have feelings of loss that have to be processed.

Loss, so much loss so quickly, so what do I do with all this loss? First, I thank God for all of the people that love, care and pray for me. So many people that I cannot even fathom. Prayers, encouragement and gifts from all over the world and from people I have never met. Prayers and love from family and friends. There has been and continues to be an outpouring of generosity and kindness that brings me to tears and humbles me to no end.

Secondly, I have an amazing support system. My family beginning with Rich, the kids, the grandkids, my sister, Fluf, nieces, nephews and cousins have loved me so well! VCC, Vineyard Church communities, pastors, colleagues and friends have literally made personal sacrifices on my behalf and for that I have no words to express the gratitude I have. A good friend taught me a meditation for my heart. She had me put my hand on my heart and think of what I am grateful for, she had me try to be in touch with holding that gratitude in my heart. That is the best way for me to express my thankfulness and it makes my heart happy! My therapist has literally saved my sanity, walking me through the last year and helping me see what is true and what is right and good. I could not be more thankful for him and the time he has taken with me. Lance Pittluck is my overseer in the Vineyard. He has been so supportive as he has brought needed pastoral care to me, VCC and the NW Region.

Last for today but not the end of it, my faith in God. The presence of Love from the Spirit of God is an experienced and living reality in my life. I am not afraid to die because I believe without any doubt that I would be in the fullness of Joy if I were to pass from this life to the next. Don’t get me wrong, I want to live and I am grateful I am still here! I am so grateful for all the ways Jesus has loved me, graced me, strengthened me and in the midst of so much surrender has sustained me. I love the Triune God with all my heart!

If you do pray, I have two requests. First, that the echocardiogram will show improvement and second, for the NW Regional Conference June 22-24 in the Portland area. Please pray for me for strength through the conference. I am so looking forward to being with everyone!

For every prayer said on my behalf, every text message of encouragement, every visit, every FB message and post, every phone call, every good thought and well wishes for me I say, thank you! There is an old song we used to sing and today as I write this post it comes to mind. “Every good and perfect gift comes from you, Father of Lights.”

P.S. I am still coloring like crazy!

coloring pic

8 Replies to “Loss, Life and Gratefulness”

  1. Rose, this is a great post. Have been praying for you regularly. I am going through my own transitions at the moment as I step down as Executive Director of MSA. Not as fast and as devastating as your transition but lots to ponder none the less.

    Part of what I have been contemplating is that transition is like pilgrimage and as I read in a little book on pilgrimage (picked up by a friend in Trondheim cathedral of all places) I was struck by the thought: “old pilgrims never returned to their own land and homestead without having lost a prejudice and gained a new idea instead. This is an attitude of life which constantly seeks new enlightenment, carries with it new won experiences and allows life to be influenced by it.”

    As you continue your journey may you do so as a pilgrim – open to the “prejudices” God wants you to let go of (maybe about the importance of work) and embracing of the new ideas God holds before you. Will continue to pray for you and walk with you even if a little distantly on the journey.

  2. So beautifully written Rose. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. We continue to pray and believe. We bless you. We are grateful for YOU!

  3. So happy to hear how your health is improving and the beautiful things you are learning. What a gift to have so many surrounding you with love and prayers. I will continue to pray for more healing and health. We won’t be at the conference this year as we have a road trip to Missouri helping our youngest son and his wife move. I will pray for a lovely time and strength for you and wisdom to know if you need to rest and pull back at anytime. Blessings to you Rose!

  4. Christine, thank you for your prayers! I will be praying for your transition. I have lots of time to pray:-) I love this quote. Embracing the pilgrimage, letting go and open for the new ideas is very much where I am. Thank you so much.

  5. Julie, I will miss you guys at the conference. Have a wonderful trip. I am praying for your health too. Thank you so much!

  6. It makes me smile that you keep showing people the way forward, as titles shift and job descriptions change. It is no small thing to hand off the church you and Rich sweated for and bled for and protected and prayed over. It has survived in no small part because of all of that. You can be assured that I am keeping both the little and big pieces of your regional gathering, so long-anticipated, in prayer. So much love and so many prayers rising up from us here in Chicagoland!

  7. Thank you Cindy. I receive that love and prayers! It clears the way forward as well as sustains me in this moment. Love you!

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