I am spending more time working outside. I push myself everyday to strengthen my body, sometimes having to pause to rest for two minutes or so to let my partially damaged heart catch up with the rest of me. My wife has put me on a more strenuous diet. She reads several books every week, implementing the latest research in diet and vitamins.
They say some people get depressed after a heart attack. I didn’t. My life is too full of friends, kids, and happy, growing grandkids to get discouraged. I have enough good memories to last me through a thousand years of slowdown, and am making more memories everyday. This past Sunday, one of my grandsons, Jeremiah, 30 months young, came into the church service at the last minute after everyone was seated. He hurriedly marched up to the front where I was sitting and planted himself right in front of me. While jabbering something I couldn’t understand he reached down, grabbed his pants, and pushed them to the floor, then he leaned back and jerked his shirt up, proudly showing me his new underwear with the blue and red thing-a-ma-giggles printed on it. He was grinning with delight and satisfaction as he babbled his joy at the display of his Sunday attire. It brought him and everyone else such pleasure, I am going to see if I can find a pair in size 38. The church won’t get to see mine, but when Jeremiah and I go swimming in the creek, we will look alike.
I have been working outdoors, building a new house on our property up on a high hill. It doesn’t have any 90° corners. I designed it around multiple octagons. It is totally unconventional, with an indoor swimming pool and greenhouse combination. I cut all the timber off the farm and milled it on a sawmill that I built for that purpose. I have a huge stack of nine by five red oak beams drying. It will be post and beam construction with lots of poured concrete and local rock. The floors will be eight to twelve inch wide oak boards that I cut. The full basement will be left open for the grandkids to roller skate, and the pool will have rope swings and a rock climbing wall, complete with a waterfall and lots of live plants. It sounds expensive, but I will build the whole thing for less than $80,000.00. I have been working on it for four years, here a little, there a little, as I get the money and time. Since my heart attack, I have been taking the doctor’s orders and spending more time away from the office, working by myself or with one of my sons-in-law. Sometimes the grandkids think they are helping me. When I get it finished, I will let you fly over and take an aerial photograph. At the rate I am working it will probably take me another three or four years to finish it, but it is not the finishing I need, but the building of it. I am back to preaching in the prisons and teaching here in church. I am writing three new books at once. Sometimes I work on one and then on another.
Finally, don’t believe everything you read about heart disease. I am as far from impotence as I was at 25. Some things never quit or even slow down. Well, not much.
The staff of 15 here at NGJ is moving forward as never before. Exciting things are happening and the ministry continues to grow. I am thankful to have dedicated workers who have a heart for the ministry. Through the piloting of Mel Cohen, our General Manager, we have spread out into an international ministry. It gets busier around here every day. Pray for us. The wolves are circling and the stray dogs are howling, but we turn a deaf ear to them and charge ahead with all joy.