A Beating Heart

I have been diagnosed with prehypertension blood pressure, and now have to take a mild medication for it. As I woke this morning, I was thinking about all of the many reasons why this heart of mine has reaped the consequences of what has been sown. I am thinking about all of the many beats, and beatings, it has taken.

I remember, from a very early age, being overwhelmed with anxiety. My mother and father never recognized the damage that was being done as they would place me directly in the middle of their dysfunctional relationship. I am the only child of my father’s second marriage. My mother and I moved in and out of living with him for the first fifteen years of my life, and the whole time they were trying to make the marriage work, I was there. I was right in the middle of learning exactly what a dysfunctional and unhappy marriage is all about. When one witnesses trauma from a very early age, it brings about all sorts of personal dysfunctions of one’s own. My early life began with high levels of anxiety.

When I was young, there were many times when my mother and father would scream. They were both very loud. I was usually told to go to my room when things became heated between them, but the loud screams were easily heard. Within those awful arguments, full of rage and anger, came many words I never should have been hearing as a child. This went on for many years. Their arguments and physical fights were always over an issue that is very personal to me. I was always left, even until this day, not knowing which one of my parents was lying about the issue that involved ignorance of one of two adults, and my innocence during childhood.

A lie. I have written about the topic more than once. It was a single lie that had me so full of unwanted and unnecessary anxiety from a very early age. I suppose that is why it is so far-reaching to me? I can’t stand liars. Even after being an habitual liar for a good portion of my life, I cannot stand what they do. The mindset over being untruthful has really changed within me throughout my growth in Christ. Lies have some serious repercussions. I hate to admit that I used to cover up lies with more lies, and I also hate to admit that my fragile mind was conditioned early on to lies being acceptable. Looking back, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble by being truthful. Of course, I had multiple drug and alcohol problems to hide. I also had all sorts of other sins to hide. Lies were a necessity at the time.

With anxiety came a huge mess of other things that would have my heart racing. All of the drugs I have done!? Honestly, I’m surprised my heart is still beating. My ongoing caffeine addiction. Twenty-five years of smoking, and that includes several harmful substances. All of the fatty and sugary foods I have filtered though this flesh. The times I have laid in bed listening to my heart beat extremely hard from being outrageously stressed. The times I had carried the learned behaviors from childhood into the many situations of adulthood. The screaming, rage and anger. Many more times of an unnecessary, adrenaline-induced heart race.

Man, this heart! At least it is okay this morning.

I have a buddy at work whose blood pressure is EXTREMELY high. He is on medication. Yesterday, he was leaning over and bracing himself. I happened to walk by and could see that something was wrong. He was saying that he couldn’t see! He said that everything became blurry and he couldn’t see clearly. He also looked pale. I know that high blood pressure can effect the vision. I also asked him if he had eaten recently. He had. I gave him a few things to laugh about, thinking that maybe it was stress-related. I learned that he was scheduled to consult a physician later in the day for a possible surgical procedure on his back. I don’t know what his issue was, but he was fine within the hour. Stress? Maybe. He is always complaining about how much stress he has. Please pray for John today. His blood pressure was taken at work yesterday and was, again, very high.

It is very important to me these days to take care of my body. By no means am I doing a great job, but I am a far cry from the man I used to be. I quit smoking. I lost a bunch of weight. I TRY to watch my caffeine. I exercise regularly. I rarely stop moving. It’s not that I want to be a health nut, it’s just because of a few things. One, I now see my body as His temple, for God dwells in it. Two, I have caused so much damage to this body, and I now desire to take better care of myself. The mind has to be taken care as well, for it is linked to the body in so many ways. I want both in a healthy state. Three, I’d like to enjoy my life for a few more years, Lord willing. I have children I’d like to see grow. A bucket list. My wife and I really want to see the world outside of our little town. I want to live outside of all of these stressful moments that have collected over the years. I want to make amends for the wrongdoings, causing the hearts of others to beat hard. Four, my father just died from heart failure, and he was only seventy-four.

Good reasons, in my own eyes.

The heart is just one of many different organs in this flesh of mine. It’s a pretty important one. I hope the Lord allows me much more peace in the anticipated years to come. If I am to pass on, at least I know that this heart of mine will no longer have to keep up. I’ll no longer have to stress about anything.

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