Stones In the Road (part 1) by Mike Plumb

                  stones in the roadMy mother was by my bedside in the intensive care looking at me like a sad puppy. I was barely coming in and out of consciousness. I remember I’d seen my ‘angel- like’ wife and my kids earlier. I also remembered seeing or hearing church friends. After coming out of the clutches of death, memory can be sketchy at best.

                 Mom and my step dad Lowell made the trip from Bellingham to Eugene in apparently  record time, considering Mom never leaves her house anymore. I must have been really sick this time for Mom and Lowell to be in my room.  Mom, brushing my brow said, “How could God allow this to happen to you after all you two have been through already, it’s so unfair!” This wasn’t the time for me to reassure my mother, I was still trying to get a handle on things myself and also I was unable to speak due to the severe surgery I just survived and the tubes springing out of every orifice. Since that day I have had a lot of time to think about things, the way things really are, and Mom’s question does at times come to the surface.

Thinking back to my early Christian life — I was considered impetuous and “too willing” to take risks. I liked the feeling of being on the cutting edge and stepping out in faith. If you’re not an ADHD Jesus follower like me then you’re most likely thinking, “What kind of risk or cutting edge is there in being a Christian and especially a church pastor?” Well, it started with three little words. When Jesus said, “Come, follow me”–those three words opened the doors to a world beyond imagination and some of the greatest adventures and supernatural miracles one can experience.  These are all marvelous stories in themselves, but I’ll skip them here (I’ve written about some of these adventures in “Going to the Sun.”) and flash forward about 30 years to the hardest and least glamorous part of my journey, which in part included my massive heart attack and subsequent triple-heart bypass.

It was some years before the new millennium. Maggie, myself and a group of longtime friends from all around the country felt the call to ‘go it together’ to start a new church in Eugene, Oregon. What’s interesting is how different we all were and how excited to drop what we were doing, pull up roots and pioneer a church based on diversity, community and teamwork. Not to get into that story, but just to give a small background– this new church exploded onto the scene. I called it my dream church (maybe you could identify it to your own circumstances; a dream job, a dream career or perhaps ‘home’ would best describe it). But this was not your father’s old Oldsmobile, as the saying goes. This place was full of life, creativity, and imagination at every level.

The troubles started for us right at the tail end of an extraordinary event, a miracle that involved all of our church community as well as many others. A young, vibrant woman in our church, who was on a long waiting list for a rare liver replacement, got in a near-fatal car accident. She was on life support and not expected to live. Immediately, a rotating team of prayer warriors was formed, about 100 in all, and rallied together at the hospital, praying around the clock in the intensive care waiting room—imploring that this 19-year-old girl would come back to us. Long story short, she went from being as good as dead to a remarkable recovery, getting off all life support, amazing doctors and all of us in the hospital. Not only that, but shortly after, against all odds, a new liver came in for her and the subsequent transplant was successful. I suppose I would have given my life to save Bonny’s; she being almost engaged to my oldest son at the time.

On the heels of that event, while we were still rejoicing in the list of supernatural events, something happened to me that made me acutely aware that all was not well with my spine. I had already suffered from ruptured discs and already had undergone a couple of discectomies, but I kept going, despite the pain. But on that dreadful Sunday while I was preaching, and lost continence (peed my pants), was when I knew that something was really wrong. Although I managed to get out of there with (hopefully) no one knowing, the shame and embarrassment, followed by the worry, overcame me. I hid in my car and my thoughts ran wild with a myriad of possible health implications. This was to be my descent into a long, dark and confusing period of my life.

TO BE CONTINUED in next blog.

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t remember Corey being engaged to “Bonny?” (Just kidding…protecting the innocent and all).

    Can’t wait for part II.

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