Happiness is a choice you always have a say in!
Linda and I love to decorate for Halloween. I suppose it’s a juvenile pseudo holiday that we get enjoyment from. We transform the exterior of our home into a haunted house, complete with a graveyard, skeletons, coffin, fog machines, and a myriad of other fun stuff. We’ll dress up and scare the children and their parents too. I guess truthfully speaking, that’s the part that we enjoy most.
It was Halloween Day in 2008, and it was hot for being so late in October. The afternoon was quickly passing and we were all set and ready to go for the big night when the call came in. My dad (Ted Mitchell) was experiencing pain and discomfort in his chest and had gone to the hospital unexpectedly. He needed a quadruple bypass, and he needed it right away.
It goes without saying that this turned out to be a very difficult time for our family. Dad had many complications after this surgery and was in the hospital for 3 weeks.
My dad (Ted Mitchell) was experiencing pain and discomfort in his chest and had gone to the hospital unexpectedly
When you’re in the trenches of a family health crisis like that, you often just can’t see over the top of the trench, and that’s how it felt for us. There were moments we were not sure what would happen or if Dad would even make it home from the hospital. This marked the beginning of an unwelcomed journey for our family.
In his book, “Celebration of Discipline”, Richard Foster talks about the fear of being left alone as one fear that most petrifies people. Although myself, a classic introvert that enjoys alone time, I know this fear to be true. I so enjoy the company and companionship of Linda. I’m truly blessed to be married to my best friend and the thought of her not being with me indeed is petrifying.
My mom and dad are also blessed to have a marriage like this. They are best friends and soul-mates in every sense of the word. Linda and I are constantly learning from their example as they exemplify a truly joyful and rewarding marriage. I’m understanding now, at a high level, the stress my mom has endured for these past 8 years.
Dad was recently admitted into an advanced surgical trial that took 8 months of jumping through hoops to qualify for, but it’s a blessing that we’re thankful for. He had to travel to San Francisco in May for one-week where he endured yet again, another heart surgery. For this round, he had some of the most highly skilled doctors in the field, conducting this advanced surgery and caring for him. He did remarkably well throughout his stay in San Francisco and ultimately, the surgery.
This latest surgery was his 5th heart surgery since Halloween of 2008, 2 of which have been open-heart. It’s been an unbelievably bumpy road for him but perhaps, even more trying on my mom. After 50 years of marriage, she has had to face head on, the reality of things she does not want to think about or even contemplate in the least. The weight of that burden is hard on her and we have had to be sensitive to just listen to her when she’s in a moment of despair.
Today, Dad is doing pretty good all things considered. He has good days and not so good days. On the good days, you wouldn’t even know that he’s only recently had heart surgery. He’ll be continuing to heal over the next 6 months and we’re hoping that the good days will start outnumbering the bad days with increasing frequency.
He’s been a constant source of inspiration to his family. The quintessential hallmark of a man that has no questions about where he will be headed when his time on Earth is over and he’s called home to his Heavenly Father.
He has always left it all on the playing field and never held back
The manner to which he’s led his life, one of reaching your full potential and aspiring to consistently become the best version of yourself, as well as his very outward profession of his Christian faith, has impacted hundreds of people around him throughout his life. He has always left it all on the playing field and never held back.
As I’ve been reading through Celebration of Discipline, I’ve contemplated the mere act of listening to provide comfort. I think the nature for most of us men is to provide answers, to provide resolution, and to help in some capacity. When we can’t do this we sometimes feel frustrated or inadequate.
For this reason, I think Richard Foster’s book has so resonated with me at a personal level. He talks about the benefits of just being silent and listening, and to be men that hold their words carefully but when they do speak, people listen because they have something to say.
Through this, I’m learning to keep my mouth shut and not always feel that I need to be speaking or have something deep to say. Sometimes, the mere act of listening is the most comfort that can be applied.
Dad, we love you so very much and are thankful for your example of grace, love, and perseverance each and every day.
Questions? Leave a comment below or hit me up at [email protected]