Last month I suffered a heart attack and nearly died. If I had not gotten to the hospital in time and received good care, the outcome would have been, well, not good. I thank God for that. This was a total surprise for me, since I am healthy, work out hard at the gym six days a week, have good cholesterol levels, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, and no family history of heart disease. I suppose stress is something I do suffer from, but since being diagnosed with depression a year and half ago and then receiving treatment for that, my stress levels have gone down. Still, the whole thing was a complete shock. I can only thank God to still be alive.
In times of need, or of great stress, my belief in God is indispensable. How can I even describe the healing effects of prayer, of belief, and trusting in God? It is hard to. All that I know is that my faith sustains me in times of great peril. When it comes to faith and spirituality, I do not want to engage in polemics over doctrine or social issues, I do not want to listen to people complain about how horrible the world is or how this or that religion have gone down the tubes, no, for me faith is simply believing and trusting in God. Faith to me is trying to be as close to God as possible. Faith to me is loving those around you, and caring for each other. Engaging in religious battles is way too destructive for me, way too stressful, and for the rest of my life I need to keep my stress levels down. Each day for me is now precious; each sunrise is a gift to me, each person I meet or engage in is something I could very well have lost a few weeks ago. Being near to death sharpens the spiritual soul.
This whole experience has had a profound impact on me, and my life will never be the same now. I just beginning to learn the different ways this has changed me.
Prayer is so important. When stressed, I find prayer a wonderful panacea. I believe that my prayers helped save my life during my heart attack: for two days I was unsure what was going on, but I did pray to God for help and guidance; even if they had not, my prayers would have helped me leave this world in a way that would have prepared me for the next. Prayer calms the mind, the heart, the soul, and it helps us in so many ways. There are many different forms of prayer, each religion, each culture, each civilization has developed their particular methods of prayer. But I think all of them have something in common: the ability to touch the divine, spiritual world through our minds and hearts and souls and commune with God. When that happens, the world is better, brighter and more wonderful. And when the darkness does come, and it will for all of us, in one form or another, prayer is a medicine unlike any other for coping with whatever tragedy we have suffered. Without prayer, my life would be so much poorer.
Finally, there is something beautiful about prayer, about seeking and searching for divine things, about trying to live your life in harmony with the spiritual side of our world. We can pray at any time of the day, anywhere, without cost, and with great benefits. I urge everyone to develop a spiritual life of prayer according to his or her own desires and personality. It just helps in so many ways.
I thank God that I have always had a religion that encourages and supports a rich prayer life. It is easy as a Catholic to find many different resources for prayer. Now, after my life altering event of last month, these things are even more important to me than before. I am on a new journey, and I trust in God that He will lead me to where I am supposed to be.