The events of my life yesterday are such that I could not write them as fiction if I tried. Here’s how my Wednesday unfolded:
I had a 10:15 AM appointment with a cardiologist. The back story: I finally heard back from my doctor on Monday evening about the heart palpitations I’ve been having; she was unsure what was going on with my heart and referred me to a cardiologist. Also Monday, my Wednesday morning staff meeting was cancelled. On Tuesday morning I called the cardiologist to make an appointment. While checking for openings, the receptionist said, “Wow, this never happens. Is there any chance you can come in tomorrow (Wednesday) morning? Our next available appointment is in about a month.” Why, yes…yes I can!
So yesterday morning I got ready for the day and left the house with enough time to stop for gas on the way to my appointment. As I was driving out of my neighborhood I realized I’d accidentally left about 15 minutes before I intended. (Who does that?) I felt a little annoyed with myself, knowing I’d just be waiting an extra long time in the waiting room. I stopped at the gas station, filled up the tank, sat back in the car, turned the key in the ignition, and… nothing. Well, nothing except a gritty clicking noise. Dang it.
The gas station attendant did not have jumper cables or a car (he’d walked from home) but was so kind and started walking around asking other customers if they could help. One woman had the cables and was willing to help start my car. Over the course of the next few minutes, I discovered that the gas station attendant was the father-in-law of a friend from church, and the woman with the jumper cables sends her kids to the camp where I worked in college, and we have mutual friends here in town. My car started, I thanked the folks who were willing to help me on a rainy morning, and I was headed toward the cardiologist with the exact amount of time I’d intended to give myself.
I started laughing and thanked God as I drove–there’s no way that series of events was anything short of divine intervention. My schedule that morning had cleared, there was a random, rare opening with the cardiologist, I accidentally gave myself extra time, and when my car broke down, there were kind folks to whom I was already connected willing to help. I was meant to be at that appointment.
When I pulled up at the doctor’s office, I turned off my car, then attempted to start it again–just to see what I was going to be dealing with post-appointment. Nothing but that lovely dead-battery noise. Excellent. I texted my friend and coworker Evan, who lives around the corner (and was home because our staff meeting had been cancelled), and he said he could jump my car after the appointment.
When I was finally in the examination room, the nurse took my blood pressure.
“114/55… looks good.”
“I’m surprised it isn’t higher; my car died on the way here this morning, and I’m a little worked up!”
“Oh no! Then you’re doing REALLY good!”
I spent the most time with the nurse practitioner, who was great and explained everything so well to me–basically I’m having a few extra heartbeats throughout the day, but because my heart rhythm looks normal, I’m at a healthy weight, active, and have no risk factors, I have nothing to worry about. Stress, rather than a problem with my heart, is causing the palpitations. Bottom line: I just need to learn to relax.
No problem. Now let me go jump start my car for the second time today. 😉 Evan graciously drove over to help (thanks, Evan!), and I headed for my regular car shop.
I left the car running and walked inside.
“Hey, as soon as I turn off my car, it’s going to die. You guys do battery stuff, right?”
“We do. You can pull it into the garage!”
I pulled it in and walked back inside the office to give the man my car key.
“What’s your plan–are you going to wait or is someone picking you up?”
“Umm… I didn’t really have a plan. My plan was to jump start the car and immediately take it somewhere it could be fixed. This is as far as the plan went. How long do you think it will take?”
“Well, we are all about to go to lunch, so we can’t look at it right now. I can call you when it’s ready though.”
Learn to relax. Learn to relax. Learn to relax.
I thanked him, then walked out the door and down the street to Barnes & Noble, where I bought a magazine and a sandwich and settled in for an indefinite amount of time. Within an hour they called to tell me I needed a new battery, and they could have it done in twenty minutes.
The hilarious irony of the situation is not lost on me–that my car breaks down on both ends of an appointment where I’m told that I am so stressed that I’m giving myself heart palpitations. And yet, in what is a notoriously stressful situation, God provided richly before I even knew to ask. Everything worked out, no thanks to me worrying about how it might be resolved.
It brings to mind a passage from the book of Matthew (chapter 6), which I’ll share for anyone who’s interested or needs the same reminder today:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I will be meditating on this passage daily for a while (until my heart chills outs, and then probably a bit longer :)) as part of my plan to de-stress, which I’ll outline tomorrow.
In the meantime, do not worry, my friends!
Glad to hear it’s nothing ‘serious’ but stress must be taken seriously; I get palpitations if not every day then every second day and when I spoke to my GP about it (he knows and understands my life) he also told me to ‘stress less!’ Far easier said than done 😉
Thanks! It’s definitely true about stress… but so hard to just not worry about things!
That is amazing!! I have a great story to tell you.
I was driving home from visiting my brother in the early 1990’s – before Hannah and before cell phones. My car started to slowly shut down on the highway – first the heat (it was near Christmas), then the radio – I managed to pull of at an exit in West Branch, Iowa. I called the 1-800 number for Ford because I had a maintenance plan with them – as luck would have it – there was a Ford authorized repair shop IN West Branch!
I called them, they said the tow would be there in 45 minutes, why don’t I got to the cafe next door – the guy on the phone told me they make a mean Reuben sandwich, which just happens to be my favorite.
Delicious sandwich in my belly, I get picked up. I get taken to a small garage/repair shop – the guy told me it would be a couple hours before he knew exactly what was wrong with the car, but his wife was going into town for Christmas shopping if I wanted to tag along.
So minutes later, I am driving in a pickup, with a complete stranger to go Christmas shopping in Iowa! She bought me a hot cocoa at the mall and a cookie, and we had a lovely time.
We get back to the shop – and the repairs cost $80 – which included a new battery. I wrote them out a check, thanked them for their hospitality and the woman gave me her card and asked that I call her when I got home so she knew I got home okay.
All was well, four hours later I was home. I reached for my wallet to get the number to call them to tell them that I was home safely, when I see my check that I gave them is somehow back in my wallet – with a note that said “Merry Christmas – the repair is on us!”
Stranger still, the first phone call I made when my car died? I left my address book in the pay phone, and didn’t even realize it was missing. Christmas Eve, the doorbell rings and I have a Fed Ex from Iowa. What?!
The janitor that cleaned the cafe found my address book, and shipped it back to me FedEx because I had work checks in it that still needed to be deposited and he was worried it would have gotten lost if he mailed it.
It’s my favorite Christmas story, and I can’t believe it happened to me!
Wow, this is a great story too!!!
Wow…what an awesome story!! So cool… thanks for sharing that!
What a bizarre turn on events!! Sometimes it’s like the universe just knows what is going to happen to us and is ready for the unexpected!! I am glad everything worked out in the end and there were so many wonderful people to give you hand!
Thanks! Yeah, it was pretty awesome how it all worked out!
Wow is all I have to say!! First of all, thank goodness you are well and doing alright! I’m glad it’s ‘just’ stress… but I also know stress is one of those things that is hard to reduce. Especially if it’s in your personality to stress (I’m what I like to call a recreational stresser… I just do it and have trouble stopping). I have found yoga and a regular exercise routine really helps, and writing, and hmm… having social time with great friends. You know, all the usual stuff. It’s easy to know what to do, it’s just hard to actually do it… at least that’s what I find. Good luck with your stress reducing endeavors, I hope to hear more about your tactics and what you find helps! Also so glad that everything worked out to get you to that appointment, craziness. God works in mysterious ways!