One year removed from surgery, so much for which to be thankful

August 12, 2020

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

That opening phrase, from an anthem I learned as a little boy growing up in a Methodist church, was the first thing that popped in my head this morning. It’s ironic that it did, given that I haven’t sung it in years. 

But it fit.

Frankly it fits every day, but especially THIS morning. Because it was one year ago today, that I checked into Brookwood Baptist Medical Center for heart bypass surgery, that would clear 95% blockage in the artery commonly referred to as “The Widow Maker”. 

It would be the beginning of an Odyssey that has been well-documented over the past 12 months by many friends and colleagues. I won’t repeat the story here, but if you are unfamiliar with it, I’ve posted a few links below:

ABC 33/40    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaWjw5jBiks&feature=youtu.be

WVTM 13      https://www.wvtm13.com/article/chris-stewart-readies-for-return-to-broadcasting-after-months-in-hospital/30289209#

CBS 42     https://www.cbs42.com/sports/alabama/alabama-basketball-game-a-homecoming-for-broadcaster-chris-stewart/

Lindy’s Sports Annuals    https://www.lindyssports.com/college-football/sec/alabama/column/charmed-life-saved-twice-god-gets-the-glory/507157/

Within five minutes of waking up this morning, two other wonderful reminders were in my phone. I receive daily inspirational/motivational texts from a longtime acquaintance in Scott Wimberly. Today’s message stated “Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are the days I am fighting the hardest”.  

It reminded me of the many times during my hospitalization that I would hear someone say how proud they were of me for battling and fighting. At the time, I thought that was so odd, because I felt anything other than strong. I truly felt weak – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just getting through some of those 91 days felt like a victory.

Another reminder this morning came from a daily scripture reference that my friend John Morr never fails to send me. It was Proverbs 17:3, which states “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” 

The Quest Study Bible has a note on that scripture reference that explains how both gold and silver are refined by high heat. And in a similar way, “the heat of hard times is designed to improve us, drawing us closer to the heart of God.” 

The bottom line is this. In both the physical and emotional struggles of these past 365 days, I’ve been brought to my knees spiritually, and put through the fire. I’m blessed not only to be alive, but hopefully better in some ways – while understanding there is an infinite amount of work to be done in others.

I gave my heart to Christ when I was a 14-year old boy. He repaired it when I was a 49-year old man. 

Physically, while I’m not yet at 100%, my wounds from the follow up surgery to clean out my infection, have almost completely healed. My flexibility is almost fully restored to where it was a year ago. And amazing progress has been made in both my strength and stamina. 

I’m beyond grateful for the innumerable ways that so many people have helped get me through this past year, and it’s my prayer that I still have many more to come.

For what you’ve done for me and my family, I sincerely thank you….from the bottom of my fully-repaired heart. 

My world changed two years ago today

Blog Post – Aug. 19, 2019

A Message to My Friends & Social Media Followers