Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I must take a moment to thank all those who prayed, sent cards, prepared food and gave rides for Diana and me during our surgeries and recovery. It has been a trying time and with both of us down you came to our aid and made a time of trial a whole lot more tolerable and manageable. We are grateful and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
This last month I got to join the ranks of the many who have survived and got to live to talk about their heart attack. I am grateful for this day as when my pain started several months ago, a nuclear stress test said my heart was normal. Come to find out after my heart attack that the stress test I took was abnormal and did not give us an accurate reading of what was going on in my heart. So, when the test showed normal we start looking for other reasons for my discomfort.
Again, I am grateful for this day. I am grateful because a deputy sheriff brought calm to our household as we waited for the ambulance. I am grateful for a couple of first responders from Oakland who tended to me in the ambulance and I am grateful for the paramedic we picked up outside Treynor who installed a pic line without any discomfort in an ambulance going down Highway 6. No offense to Iowa’s DOT and the condition of highway 6 but I call that quite a feat of expertise installing that pic line!
I am grateful for the personnel at CHI Mercy ER who took an anxious moment and calmed a lot of tension. I am grateful for the cardiologists who performed a cauterization and when I woke from the procedure told me with no editorialization or opinion gave me the straight talk that I needed surgery. I am grateful for the top-notch staff at Bergen Mercy who treated me with expertise and a whole lot of knowledge that was given with compassion and caring. I always felt that my best interest was in their heart.
I didn’t have surgery right away as there was others ahead of me so Tuesday was a day of preparation. Around 5:00 PM the family and friends had left and it was just me. Alone. Except I knew God was with me and I felt something else. It was the prayers of all those who were praying for me. Your prayers were a real presence to me in that hospital room as I felt the love that they were being given. The love of God and the love of God’s people allowed me to make my confession and worship the God who created me and the God who would preserve my life.
The next morning I had no fear even though I knew what was ahead of me. I had no fear because I knew I was guaranteed life either here on earth or in heaven. I asked God to please let me stay on earth as I do really like it down here but I would abide by your decision. So, I am grateful to be writing this newsletter to all of you. I am grateful because the success of my surgery and the recovery from that surgery comes from a whole lot of people using the gifts and talents that God created them with to make this day happen for me.
But it is not just in using their gifts and talents it is how they used their gifts and talents. I am here today because of the grace of God and the love of a whole lot of people who took time to show compassion and put my best interest forward. In retrospect, I think a lot about God’s decision to bring me to Oakland this last June. No, I do not believe God brought me to Oakland to have a heart attack, but God knew this is the place where me and my family needed to be for the journey ahead. So, in that I am grateful for this day and for a lot of other things including the community of Oakland. We as a family thank you and we are grateful.
See you sooner than you think,
Rev. Dennis Hopes