My Health at this Moment, Tues. March 5

Pastor Bryan Lowe
Bryan Lowe

I really don’t know what I should say now. Yesterday, March 3, I woke up and made the frightening discovery that the entire left side of my face was paralyzed. Eye-mouth-lips-tongue. But being a true coffee drinker, I found I could only drink my morning joe with a straw, otherwise it just dribbled down my chin. And I couldn’t close my left eye.

I drove my son to his classes, and then decided on a whim that it might be wise to have my doc look at it. I was immediately escorted up to the hospital’s ER. The concern was is that I had a stroke; or in the midst of one. But the real diagnosis though is Bell’s Palsy.

Since I physically couldn’t close my left eye I experienced the horrible experience of not being able to blink. I must of made a ghastly sight with an eye that didn’t close, staring out like a cyclops. That was the worse of it. Even though the pain was minimal, the eye was affected the worst, and since I couldn’t close it on its own was very irritated. It would only close by physical pulling down the eyelid.

I suppose the worst part of it was going in for an MRI. Because of my past brain tumor that has become the biggest issue here. I could tell the tech was aware of something. And that they discovered something. The radiologist deferred any diagnosis until the past MRI from Anchorage could be consulted.

So now I sit here writing with just one working eye, and a prayer. I don’t want surgery again. And yet, at the same time, I want them to carve this thing out. I’m 52 years old, married with two great kids. In ministry that I love doing. But I am fully in God’s hands.

The Bell’s Palsy if that is all its is, has a healing rate of 3-6 months. And that’s fine– if it is just that. But if it is another brain tumor, than my symptoms will only spread. I will know on  Friday, later this week. I will let you know.

If wish to help me, please take my name before the Father. Having this awareness, I can follow Him much more gracefully. We can be excited (and hopeful) for a healing, but I’ve learned it takes just as much faith to follow Him through things like this.  Oh, BTW, if you run into me on the wooly streets of Homer Alaska, I’ll let you buy me a Vanilla latte. But I will need a straw, lol.

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“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”

 John Henry Newman

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Kyrie eleison.

ybic, Bryan

Bell’s Palsy Basics– http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001777/

I Bind Unto Myself Today

Patrick, Apostle to Ireland

I Bind Unto Myself Today
By: attr. St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation,
His baptism in the Jordan River,
His cross of death for my salvation,
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, his might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need,
The wisdom of my god to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The Word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three,
Of whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
Salvation is of Christ the Lord!

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Hymn # 172 from Lutheran Worship

Trial and Error (and Maybe Some Fire?)

I’m personally convinced that living life is all about “trial and error.” We seem to be working out some holy experiment. More orthodox people call it discipleship, but that really isn’t the whole truth. It seems we are working it out in a spiritual lab keeping the good (like humility) and tossing the bad (like selfishness.)

We also experience blisters from “near-brushes” with God’s flames. About 30 years ago, I set myself on fire. I was in my little cabin in Alaska, and woke up on a January morning. It was cold, beyond cold. I set up the coffee pot and opened the oven door to get warm.

I turned my backside to get warm from the oven heat. It was then the fire set my sweater on fire. I went up like a candle. I couldn’t get the flames off my back. I tried to drop and roll, and all that happened was that I pressed the burning sweater into my back. (I also caught the carpet on fire.)

The pain was intense. I was panicking. We had an inside bathroom, and the shower was one of those massage kind with a long hose. By this time the flames were shooting up my back, over my shoulder and into my hair. I couldn’t pull of the tight sweater (which was acrylic and was melting on my skin.)

It took a little bit of time to get the water to flow through the hose– and I was burning to death! The water finally made its inexorable way to the shower head, and at last I found relief.

“He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

Hebrews 1:7, ESV

The night before I read that particular verse, and spent some time thinking about it. I’m certain I read if before, but somehow it seemed I was reading it for the very first time. “A flame of fire, how very odd,” I thought.

This was of those strategic points for me as I was wondering about any kind of “full-time” ministry. The irony certainly wasn’t lost on me that next morning when I flared up like a torch.

I ended up in the hospital with a lot of 2nd and 3rd degree burns down most of my back. It took a long time to heal, and I have some serious scars. It took many years before I could expose these burned areas to the sun.

Most of what I learned, was that I was a “marked man.” That our Heavenly Father was not adverse to using anything in my life, as long as it didn’t kill me. (I’m thinking of the Book of Job here.) There was such a slow healing, and it hurt so bad, that I must believe it was quite significant. So its trial and error–and sometimes fire.

“The agony of man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life. The Psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I have kept Thy Word.'”   Oswald Chambers

“The Lord afflicts us at times; but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve, and much less than many of our fellow-creatures are suffering around us. Let us therefore pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient.”   John Newton

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ybic, Bryan

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