Well, my dad had a second TIA this past weekend. (My understanding is that "TIA" is another, less-threatening way to say "mini-stroke.")
This makes two of these things in the past 11 months. He'll be 83 in April and is in otherwise excellent condition.
I'd prefer things like this not happen. We all would. When they do happen, however, they do have their benefits. The benefit I'm thinking of today is how they bring life into focus at a number of levels.
First and foremost, things like TIAs are a gentle(?) reminder of how fragile life really is. Most of the time, we live as though we — and the people we love — are indestructible. That's simply not so.
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Second, and in light of the first, these kinds of things remind us that we should keep our accounts paid up — with one another and with God. If we love someone, we should tell them so — today. If we owe someone anything — thanks, congratulations, encouragement, a visit, whatever — we need to pay the debt.
Third, we need to invest time where it counts. Reminders of our mortality show us the value of minutes, and sometimes seconds. We need to make each one count.
My dad wouldn't even begin to know how to turn a computer on, so I'm confident he'll never find this blog in the cyber-world. So I'll just have to tell him personally how much I love him next week. In light of what a stroke can do in a second or two, a seven-hour drive doesn't seem all that far.
Jesus, fix this truth in my mind.