ARTICLE ONLY (NOT UPDATE): Tears of Joy

Editors Note: This letter was written in August, 1999, and sent to my co-workers (as the monthly “My Heart to Yours” letter).  It described the ordeal that I went through in losing one third of my blood due to ulcers caused by five years of steroids use.  It was sent in conjunction with another letter, Knocking at Death’s Door. The words below remain unchanged just as they were written eleven years ago.  This is an example of how you can share spiritual truths in a non-religious way in the secular marketplace.   Kent

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As I lay on the table in the emergency room the tears rolled gently down my face.  They seemed to spring from deep within my soul and came nearly uncontrollably as I looked into the face of my wife and tried to explain my emotions.  They were not tears of pain, or sorrow, but tears of inexpressible joy.  I was overwhelmed and deeply touched by the responses of my family and friends.  It grieved me that I had caused such turmoil in their lives in the last few hours, but the love that had been freely shared had brought peace to my spirit and tears to my eyes.

The evening had started with laughter as our group piled into our ski boat.   The hot July day had begun to cool.  I had felt a little weak the last day or so, but we had stayed in during the heat of the afternoon sun and had then taken a refreshing swim before skiing.  After about an hour in the boat we prepared to pull up our last skier, when I suddenly felt lightheaded and began to gasp for air.  I staggered to the back seat and shortly afterwards passed out briefly, struggling to breathe.  During the next few minutes the group mobilized about me and quickly got me to our dock.

Thinking that I had only a mild case of heat exhaustion, I resisted the thought of an ambulance.  My strong willed sister-in-law, who had been monitoring my pulse, wanted me checked out in a hospital as soon as possible.  She won; I took my first ambulance ride.  Shortly after arriving at the small country hospital, I threw up a great amount of blood and the medical team realized that my problem was not heat, but internal bleeding.  For the next four hours they sought to stabilize me, empty my stomach, and find a way to get me to a larger hospital without putting my life at even greater risk.

During all of this I sought to be upbeat, answer questions, listen to all the phone calls, and laugh.  Then I heard the doctor explaining the risk of a long transport ride to Davidene, and I realized that I was in a serious condition and could die of uncontrolled bleeding.  I really was not fearful; I believe that the spirit of God had given me miraculous peace.  Five years ago I had been told I have Relapsing Polychondritis, a rare disease that is potentially fatal.  At that time I had made the choice to go on living as I always had. I had been able to live a normal life and my condition had improved, but the years of steroids and other harsh drugs caused ulcers, which were now pouring blood into my stomach.  The well-trained medical staff in the emergency room, aided by the medical flight team, prepared me to endure two more ambulance rides and a forty-five minute flight in a specially prepared small plane.   By two-thirty in the morning, I was in a major hospital only minutes from my home.  There I was able to get help from a medical staff that could nurse my ailing body back to health.

As I recall those emotional moments on that table, I wish I could share with you how I really felt.  Those tears expressed more than words could ever say.  They were like the tears of a young mother as she holds her baby for the first time and looks into her husband’s face.  The emotions were like those of a father getting ready to walk down the aisle to give his little girl away to another man.  You could compare the experience to a proud dad watching his son graduate after a long, difficult struggle.  There are certain times in life when words cannot express the deep stirrings of the soul.  These times are rare, they are precious, and they should not be forgotten.

I hope with a combination of medicine and care that my condition will be handled.  I’ll probably always have to be careful now that I’ve pushed my stomach to the “wall” with harsh medication.  Although necessary, they did finally take a toll on my body.  Did my fast paced lifestyle make this worse?  Should I have seen the warning signs?  Was God trying to tell me something?  Will I view life, health, and family differently than before?  I’m still answering these questions.  How about you?  Are you ready to face death at any moment?  When facing your moment of truth, will it be tears of sorrow and fear, or peace and joy?  If you have faced these moments before, have you learned valuable lessons or have they been quickly forgotten?  I pray I’ll never forget that moment when I experienced the tears of joy!

Remembering the tears,

Kent Humphreys

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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