Note: In this blog post, I am reprinting the Afterword from my newest, about-to-be-released book. In fact, I already have uploaded the book to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), and I will soon be reviewing the proof copy — the actual print version of the paperback. This will go live on Amazon in a few months from now, along with the Ebook. One reason I haven’t been posting on this blog recently is that I’ve been busy completing this book — in addition to the episode described in the following “Afterword.” The title of my new book is Successful Spiritual Waiting: the 7 Maxims, with this subtitle: “Transformative guidelines that reveal the positive perspective.”
I spent the first week of the year 2022 in the hospital. Eight days. My wife called 911, and when the paramedics arrived, they said they either transport me to the hospital as fast as possible, or I’ll die. Snow covered the ground and roads. I remember seeing it as they pushed my gurney across the front yard. The night’s darkness amplified the flashing emergency lights; two vehicles had responded. Inside the ambulance, I heard the driver say, “I’m goin’ red.”
My oxygen saturation was around 84 percent, according to the pulse/oximeter on my fingertip. At that level, my survival was unlikely without intervention. In the emergency room, the doctors told me that if I refuse intubation and my heart fails, they will not resuscitate. The reason was that reviving the heart is of no value when the lungs aren’t able to function. And the X-ray showed that my lung capacity was approximately 50 percent. The covid test came back positive.
With my consent, they administered a steroid and monoclonal antibodies, which have FDA approval for emergency treatment. I needed the monoclonal antibodies, daily shots of the steroid, plus a medication to prevent blood clotting. In addition, supplemental oxygen was vital in the ICU, in my hospital room, and even after going home. Without these, I would not have survived.
How does this relate to waiting for the Lord? The very first Maxim: “If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.” In other words, if we had tried to do it ourselves — i.e., treat my illness — I would be dead now. We had to call 911, and let God take over.
A huge prayer team was mobilized. Thanks to my wife, my daughter, my sister — I don’t know the full extent of all the people involved — a multitude of prayers and directed consciousness were being sustained on my behalf. As a result, my healing and recovery were 100 percent miraculous.
God had to do it. Allow me to reiterate: if we had tried to treat my illness ourselves, I would be dead. If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. In a way, I had to go to the hospital in order to generate and mobilize that level of prayer support. I definitely had to go to the hospital to receive the medicine and treatment that I needed to survive. God heals. After my experience, I know that healing is always a viable probability.
This experience has a wider application; namely, any time we try to confront life’s crises by ourselves — i.e., whenever we try to resolve life’s supreme challenges on our own — the result can be devastating and catastrophic. The outcome would have been catastrophic for me if we’d tried to treat my illness without intervention. A catastrophic result is not inevitable in every situation, as it would have been in my case. But the risk is high that the outcome won’t be optimal if I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that the circumstance requires skills and resources that are external to myself.
Remember how I restated the first Maxim? It won’t happen unless God does it.
This is not to say that I was removed from all responsibility during my healing and recovery. To the contrary, as I wrote in Maxim 5, the waiting process requires work. To regain my health, I had loads of work to do, both in the hospital and afterward: wrestling to hang on; concentrating on my breathing; physical therapy exercises. While in the hospital, I realized I must never permit myself to slip back; I must always keep fighting forward. When there is good progress, I cannot rest; I must capitalize on that strength to move farther ahead.
So God had to do it; otherwise I’d be dead. BUT ALSO I had to contribute my full effort to keep forcing myself forward to survival; never allowing any step back or retreat. My daughter wrote in an email to me, “I too definitely believe that your recovery was miraculous but I also strongly believe that your intentionality and dedication to meditation and mindful breathing is what allowed you to make such an incredible recovery and so quickly.”
During my time in the hospital, I received the realization that my will to survive was not for my sake, but for the sake of my family: for my wife, for my children, and for my grandchildren. I was to survive for them. As if to reinforce this realization, on my first day in the hospital my wife organized and sent to me a blue notebook with photos of these family members, along with notes from them. And I didn’t solicit this; as usual these days, my wife and I are on the same intuitive wavelength.
Following my discharge, my wife and I started meditating together nearly every morning at sunrise, facing east, which in Feng Shui represents health and family life, which I know now are vastly interconnected.
Hearkening back to what I wrote concerning prayer in Maxims 2 and 5, I further realized that in itself — or, by itself — prayer isn’t the power. The power of prayer is that it summons and directs the Universal Power. Prayer is the directing/ focusing/ concentrating of the Infinite Universal Power (God’s power) into a spotlight and a laser. So clearly, they work in tandem. Universal Power is wielded in response to fervent prayer.
In addition, like the ringing of a gong or a bell, this experience appears to toll a permanent death of my vision to go to India. In the hospital, especially after seeing the X-ray they took in the Emergency Room, I sensed very strongly that my lungs are so essential and vital, yet so fragile and finite. At first, this brought me to tears. I juxtapose this with the extreme air pollution and overpopulation of India’s urban areas.
One of the wildlife rescue organizations, which includes elephants, and at which I had hoped to volunteer, is located in the Mathura district adjacent to the city of Agra. Agra is in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a densely populated state of approximately 241,066,875 people. That’s over 241 million. By contrast, New York State population in 2021 was estimated to be only 19.8 million. California’s 2021 population was over 39 million, which means that Uttar Pradesh has six times more people than California.
This dense population contributes to the transmission of disease, while the air pollution fosters weakened lungs.
I had also planned to spend time in the south of India, such as the states of Karnataka and Kerala, where human-elephant conflict is escalating. This is due in part to the close proximity of the Bannerghatta National Park to Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), the capital and the largest city of the state of Karnataka. And Bengaluru, a city of more than 8 million people, continues to expand closer to the park’s boundary. One of my sources in India stated: “This is perhaps the only national park in the world (Bannerghatta) that has a wild tiger and a wild elephant so close to a metropolitan city.”
In this southern region, the population and pollution are less severe. The air may be cleaner, but there is no opportunity for hands-on interaction with the elephants. So my plan seems to be changing. Perhaps I will be traveling to Sri Lanka and Thailand instead.
In the meantime, I am waiting for the Lord. Although I am still in my “death of a vision” phase, he may resurrect and fulfill my vision supernaturally in a way — and with a destination — that I cannot foresee.
I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, January 6, 2022, which is Epiphany, or Kings’ Day, which we celebrated while living in Mexico. That is the day to exchange gifts, instead of December 25. This was my greatest Kings’ Day gift.
My post-discharge follow-up appointment with my doctor was at 11 AM on 1-11 (January 11). With that pair of elevens, I knew that my life and I are in perfect alignment.
This experience was like halftime, as in the football game, and now I’m back on the field to play the second half. Now every day is such a source of joy and inexpressible gratitude. New beginnings; better than before.
Copyright © 2022 by Lee Cuesta. All rights reserved.