In 2007, Howard, my beloved husband of thirty-seven years, was blessed with warning chest pain. During his heart catheterization, the cardiologist determined that his left descending coronary artery was ninety percent occluded at the spot known as the “widow maker.” Had there been a total occlusion, Howard would have suffered a massive heart attack and most probably not have made it to the hospital alive. The cardiologist was able to resolve the occlusion by placing a stent. Our family was keenly aware that husband, father and grandfather had narrowly escaped death by the grace of God. We were also mindful that the additional gifts were his not having had any heart muscle damage and not having to go through open-heart by-pass surgery.
Soon after his stent placement, Howard and I attended one of our grandson Noah’s baseball games. It was a hot, windy day in June. Even though a second game was scheduled, Howard and I left for home after the first one was finished. Julia, Noah’s seven-year-old sister, decided to get out of the heat and hang out with Grandma and Papa at their home in the air conditioning. She climbed up on a stool at the kitchen island while I prepared a snack for her. I noticed her looking intently across the island out the window at the oak trees, as if in deep thought. Then I heard her say, “I suppose no one ever wants to die.”
I replied, “I think you’re right.” Then I waited to see if she would say more.
A few moments later, she rhetorically remarked, “People are the best, aren’t they, Grandma?”
“Yes,” I answered. “Yes, they are the best.”
After staring death in the face, Julia at seven, calculated that nothing in life matters more than relationships with the people we love, since the number of days or years we get to spend with them is uncertain. She had established a priority.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment was to love God and that the second commandment was to love others.
Lord God, help me to prioritize my life and spend my time like I really believe nothing matters more than loving You and loving others. I thank You for the people in my life. Next to You, they are the best.