In 1981, I had a heart attack and died. I was visiting friends, who were preparing dinner. I remember that the heart attack was a fascinating experience. I was fully conscious at the time and was aware of everything that was happening. There was no pain. This I am told is called a silent heart attack. First of all, I became very tired and I could not hold myself up, so, I fell forward. It was just as well that I was sitting down at the time. I could still see and hear what was going on around me. One of my friends looked over at me and realized that I had fallen forward. So, he alerted his wife and straightaway, they came over to help me.
The heart is made up of four chambers, the left atrium, right atrium, left ventricle and right ventricle. There are four valves in the human heart; they ensure that blood only goes one way, either in or out. It is believed that the heart beats about 100,000 times in one day. The baby’s first heart cell starts to beat as early as four weeks in the womb. The heart is a coordinated machine. The right side pumps blood into your lungs, while the left side pumps it back into your body. Each minute it pumps 1.5 gallons of blood through the body. Each beat keeps us alive and we don’t even notice it.
The heart is a miracle of God’s amazing creation. I know because I felt my lungs totally deflate. I could not breathe, yet I wasn’t afraid. At that time, I began to go on a journey towards a shaft of light. Outside of me, my friends prayed. Inside of me, I was on my way to my new location with my Lord. And I could see everything. Just then, I heard someone speak to me. He told me that I must go back into my physical body, as there was something that I yet had to do. I was intrigued. What could that be? Suddenly, my lungs filled with air and I took my first breath. The first thing that I wanted to do, was to go outside and smell the flowers. I had a new appreciation of this gift of this life that I had been given. It was an amazing experience that I have never forgotten and I am glad to be alive today.
In 2016, I had some in-depth tests done on my heart. These days, the machines that medics use are very high-tech. The ambulance guy who came to attend me, could see the effects of that heart attack those many years ago and was keen to know when it had happened. It is now an important piece of information in my medical records.
We often characterize the heart to be a symbol of what we are like inside. The Bible says that a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22. We say of some people that they have a good heart. Proverbs 27:19 tells us that as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. So, whether it is the physical heart, or the inner heart of our spirit, we need to put it in the hands of God, so that he can take special care of it.