Are you more religious?

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Magic8Ball

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Sep 26, 2006
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Perth, West Australia.
I went to catholic shool and attended church until the age of 14 or so but i would say that i have since then not been religious in the organised sense of the word.

I do live my life by some core values of family first and do unto others as you expect them to do unto you which you could argue stem from a religious upbringing.

I however have a distrust of organised religion and feel that religion (or its misuse by evil people) is often one of the main causes of the majority of problems the world faces, from the aids problem to terrorism and i would be happy if organised religion of all types was banned. I realise that the bad people would find something else to fight over though :rolleyes:

That said, i respect anyone who chooses to follow a religious life and if it gives you the support mechanism you need then i'm happy for you. It's not religion thats the problem but its misuse to create division that annoys me.

This site often asks for prayers and although i can't assist with that i often keep people in my thoughts, this may just be symantec's or a play on words on my behalf but i feel its a difference.

To return from my tangent, my OHS has not made me more or less religious but like others have said, i see the big picture more and the little things don't bend me out of shape any more.

Hope my comments don't offend, they were not intended to do so.

Regards.
 

Adrienne

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Ditto, ditto, ditto on what Magic8Ball just said. I know I already posted, but he said a lot of things I relate to.
 

WayneGM

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Waterdown, Ontario Canada
Same here.

Same here.

At risk of offending someone (you know what they say about discussing politics or religion)....A personal story....My wife is from Ireland (born in the south, raised in the north). The biggest question on all her relatives minds when we decided to get married was whether I was catholic or protestant. I should mention I am a third generation Canadian with a Chinese ancestry...that didn't seem to raise any eyebrows at all. Her dad stopped speaking to his brother over 30 years ago because he married the wrong "side". My wife's best friend and roommate was from the wrong side and even that was a problem. Its one of the reasons my wife decided to leave Ireland to come to Canada. As Magic8Ball suggests, I don't think the underlying religion is the problem, its misuse over time that creates divisions.

Sorry if my story offends anyone, as that's not the intent. I guess with Canada being a very peaceful country despite being such a melting pot of races and religions, I have a hard time comprehending this kind of thinking.
 
M

michellep

Not affended in the least

Not affended in the least

I believe that you were just relating an historical fact. Don't worry about offending people.
I am finding that my need isn't for the bible or church as a whole, but rather I am searching for that inner peace. I don't want to be hung up and busy, running around doing the "need tos". I want to spend time in nature and just appreciate.
At one time I was very spiritual (meditation, yoga, ect.) I have realized that I am craving that feeling of calmness that I once had. Before surgery I didn't feel this way. Somehow, the isolation of healing and the inability to leave my home have forced me to contimplate how I have been running my life. By starting this thread, I wondered how many others went through this same process, and if it comes with facing death.
 

WayneGM

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Waterdown, Ontario Canada
Yes...I can relate to the inner peace thing. Through the summer, since I couldn't ride my bike as much, I found myself just sitting in our garden contemplating life and taking in nature. I'd just sit there for hours with a clear head. I've always been like that though, not necessarily since OHS.

In fact, it's that inner peace that continues to attract me to riding my bike....my stress reliever so to speak. I have a stressful career in a large financial institution on Bay Street...the Canadian equivalent of Wall St. I rarely ride in the city as a means of transportation. I typically take off early in the morning on the weekend, when there's hardly any traffic, and just ride into the country side usually with no specific destination in mind....just ride in a general direction until its time to turn around and come home. My mind is usually blank other than taking in the surroundings. I don't need to ride in a pack like many others I know do. If anyone wants to join me...great. If not, being on my own to relax and simply take in the scenary is just fine with me, too.
 

aussiemember

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Feb 17, 2006
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Melbourne Australia
I have been a Christian for many years and always believed in the value of prayer. I find that facing OHS my beliefs are a lot more real to me and I have come closer to God through this experience. For me, personally, it is incredibly comforting to know that my life is under someone else's control and that whatever happens it is in God's hands. :)
 

DeWayne

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Jun 26, 2006
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275
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Acworth, GA
I do believe in a higher power. I detest organized religion.
I have very little memories of life before my first operation, when I was 4 going on 5 in 1959. The one memory I do have is a reoccuring "dream". I had this dream many times before the age of 5, it is about all I remember of life before my first heart surgery.
The dream as it went, I was in bed, in a dark room when a door opens on the far end of the room, a cloaked figure walks through towards me. I never see his face, just the shape outlined in the light from the doorway behind him. He speaks to me, he says "It is time to go". I then ask him if my parents know, he says its ok, they will understand. I tell him no, I don't want to go. I grab on to the headboard with all my might as he tries to grab me to take me away. Finally he relents and says that he will let me stay. He leaves.
I never told this to anyone till I was much older, my mother was shocked. She then told me of times when I was 2 or 3 that I would wake them up with nightmares, and she would pick me up, I would grab so hard around her neck that my Dad could not pry my arms from her.
I heave read all sorts of these out of body experiences people have had, but I never heard anyone say they talked to this being and fought them as I did.
Did I see "God" ?, at this age I had no concept of God, I had no concept of Heaven. I will let you be the judge of what this all meant, but to me it means I was summoned to the great beyond but I fought to stay and succeeded.
 

StretchL

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Nov 15, 2005
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Miami, FL. I'm not really sure what country this
Ever since I posted to this thread my reply has been bugging me. I don't think I was very clear, and I want to try to be more so.

I said that I don't pray that much and that's not really true. Because I think prayer and meditation is an important part of one's spiritual journey, I feel like I don't pray enough. I just don't have the discipline, and spirituality, just like anything else in life, takes time and discipline if one is to grow.

I go to church just about every Sunday (although I skipped today!) and we certainly pray there. Noni and I also give thanks for every meal, whether we're home or in a restaurant.

I also want to relate a story.

Dr. Stelzer is an elder in the Manhattan Church of Christ, where he also sings in the choir. On Sunday, the day before my surgery, Noni, my friend Kurt, and I visited the church and Dr. Stelzer sat with us. (BTW, the church was a remarkable amalgamation of people- young & old, black, white, Asian, Indian, singles & families... really a wonderful cross section...)

After the service, and Noni, Kurt, and I were leaving, the choir director happened upon us in the foyer, introduced himself, and asked about us. When we told him that we were from Richmond, and Kurt from Philly, he asked what had brought us to NYC. I told him that Dr. Stelzer was going to operate on me the next day, and he smiled big and said something like, "Oh! So YOU'RE the guy he's told us about!"

About that time, Dr. Stelzer walked into the foyer. The conversation continued for a bit, and then the choir director, whose name escapes me, asked if he could pray for me. I said, "Of course," and the man put his hand on my shoulder.

Immediately, Dr. Stelzer put his hand on me, Noni and Kurt each followed suit, and we began to pray together- the choir director speaking, the rest of us in silence.

So there I was, about 20 hours before my surgery, surrounded by these incredibly caring people, being touched by them physically and spiritually, and my surgeon was praying for me. It was a truly amazing experience, and one that confirmed for me that I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right surgeon.

I will always remember and be grateful for Dr. Stelzer for this.

.
 
N

NascarfanMary

I guess I learned to pray at early age, with being a minister's daughter. I too later in life, began to do it less often as I should have. Like the post above, I attended church, sang, played the piano,and prayed every Sunday, at meals, at the end of the day.

Prayers have brought me thru the past 4 years. During all 3 heart surgeries. During my 1st OH, God was there. He brought me thru it. After a long day at the hospital, my family who lived in many different areas, and long drives to their homes. Left to travel home to rest. Moments later they were called back. Told to get there as soon as possible.

I was bleeding excessively and was fighting for my life. Dr. was very worried that I wouldn't make it and thought about taking me back to OR. Family prayed, freinds prayed, prayer lines were started all over the US (as far Arizona, Nebraska, where ever the word was being sent)

I was given blood transfusions.(lots) My mother told the family "let's go back in the room, and have prayer again, ask that God's will be done". Don't know if it was mom or a family member, that placed their hand directly over my heart when they prayed. In the wee early hours, God began slowly stopping the bleeding. A miracle happened, The Dr. witnessed it.

When I began to wake up, I had a warm sensation, I felt like a angel was there. I told my husband and he began to tell me about the long night that we just went thru. I cried so hard, I knew who was in control.

As I faced more heart surgeries later that year, I wasn't afraid. I had God with me thru. I would not be here if it weren't for God, and lots of prayers. I try to pray for people when they ask me. I know that I am not perfect, and that we all have to ask God to lead and Direct our lives, Forgive us of our sins and short comings daily. I beleive that our VR family has alot of good christian people here and they have sent many prayers upward for the folks here, when asked to pray.
 
C

centuryltd

Yes, Thank God!

Yes, Thank God!

Hello all,

I don't post much any more, my life has gotten somewhat back to normal. To make a long story short I fell away from the church around 1990. 2006 God found me laying in that hospital bed near death. Since then I said I'd follow wherever He leads me, it has been an interesting journey so far. Last year was rough aside from the heart surgery and endocarditis. After the surgery and all the antibiotics my red blood count was low and I got an anal abscess (I know gross), I had surgery in July, September and November, all while on coumadin and concened about infection and my new valve etc. In October my mother in law was near death and in and out of a nursing home. God was always guiding me through out and I've studied a lot. Here is what I wrote to my sister in law and brother in law.

1/21/07

Dear Karen and Jerry,

Hope all is well with you, know that you are both in our prayers every day. We're sorry to hear that your vacation plans have changed. Hopefully you can go somewhere to get away for a while and have some fun!

I'd like to thank you for the concern you show for us and your prayers. What a wonderful comfort it was to us in the past year that was so trying for us all. As I look back on it, what I went through was the best thing that ever happened to me. God chose me, he chose to save me and give me eternal life. When I think about that comment and all it implies I am in awe of His grace and mercy, it takes my breath away. God loves me so much that he chose to save me though I deserve death and eternal separation from Him. After he chose me I wanted to learn all I could about our Savior God. In the weeks following my surgery I often said to myself "boy, I'm just alive due to the grace of God". Little did I know just how great that grace is, grace is undeserved love and I sure didn't deserve any of it, most of my life has been a slap in the face to God, I cry as I write this thinking about it. But He tells me all is forgiven and I need to move forward in Christ to do His will. I can do nothing, on my own to even sustain my life, it all comes from Him and it's all good. I thirst for his word. I think about Christ: the word made flesh, the thought is so awesome. Being a new Christian I rely on Him to direct me in study. I think I drive Kathy nuts sometimes because of all my questions, she knows so much and has lived her life in service to others for so long. I thank God for her everyday.

Grace.....I sit and ponder the wonder of it all, I feel it all the time, it often seems too good to be true, He chose me!!! The worst of sinners, I made a mess of my life on my own. The years I spent thinking I could affect the course of my life through anything I could do without any thought of His will, the record speaks for itself, my life was often a mess I was controlled by my sinful evil nature and no good came of anything. Though I spat in His face He still chose me.

Grace.....it is the thread that runs throughout the scriptures.

Faith....it is our free gift from God. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God--not by works, so that no one can boast" Paul writes (2:8-9). When I'm tempted to think I have anything at all to do with creating my faith or affecting my salvation the grace of God stands in danger of becoming merely a diluted form of favor rather than genuine grace. My sinful ego wants me to take some credit for my attainments, that my salvation was due in some part by my contributions. So I read the Bible and ask for His direction in my study. I used to think the Old Testament was about law and the New testament is about Gospel. As I study, God allows me to see that the entire Bible contains both law and gospel. As I study I realize that I must recognize both law and gospel and distinguish between the two. When I omit either one or confuse the two I really had trouble understanding Christian doctrine. I often confused law and gospel. I used to often say "I'm saved if I believe", or ", I'm saved because I was baptised". I confused law and gospel, the words "if" and "because" imply that I created conditions and contributions in addition to God's grace. The grace of God is complete and unconditional. My salvation is fully achieved by the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior God. It has nothing to do with anything I do or have done. My faith comes not through my contribution or work, it is a free gift from God through the work of the Holy Spirit. The thought that I could do anything to gain my salvation destroys the sweet message of God's grace. His grace permits me to write this letter to you, His grace kept me from waking up in hell this morning. So I keep learning and receiving His grace through the Word and the Sacraments. Thank you for your continued prayer and support, I sure do need them. The Holy Spirit worked through many people to let me know I am one of the chosen ones. Especially Kathy, her lifetime of service to God, his church, and our family have helped me see what can be done when we walk with Christ. She has never wavered in her commitment, a commitment that God chose for her at the beginning of time. I sure do see now why God gave her to me. I can do nothing alone, pray that the Holy Spirit continues to strengthen us in our service to Him.



May God richly bless you,

Steve
 

OldManEmu

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Can't say I was religious, before or after surgery.
I made sure the religion question on the hospital admission papers had "NR" under religion. :)
However Australia does have a far higher percentage of people answer the religion question as "NR" on the national census than the US.
 

Superbob

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I've been meaning to respond. This is a great thread, Michelle. Thanks for starting it.

My surgery two years ago tomorrow made me confront my mortality (note, I didn't say morality -- that's another subject. :D ) In the weeks before, I bought a plain-language version of the Bible and began reading it and thinking a lot. I had attended Sunday School some as a kid, but hadn't been very religiously observant as an adult. Off and on sort of thing. But OHS does focus your attention on whether this life is all there is, whether there is an afterlife, the extent to which a Higher Power is an influence in our existence, and so forth.

I don't know that I am necessarily more "religious" as a result, but I believe I am more spiritual, in the sense of thinking a lot more about spiritual matters. I do go to church now almost every Sunday. That doesn't make me better than anyone else. A church is a clinic for sinners, not a shrine for saints. I think about these spiritual matters while I am there. I should spend more time in study and worship. I am far from being a model Christian.

Watching all the prayer requests on vr.com, and participating in some of them, has helped strengthen me spiritually. I do believe in the power of prayer.

Again, Michelle, thank you for inviting us to think about the spiritual side.
 
K

Karlynn

RobHol said:
A church is a clinic for sinners, not a shrine for saints.
What a great line. As someone who stands and leads worship every Sunday, I think I'll be using this!!!!
 

gadgetman

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WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?

Oh yeah, Are you more religious?

My answer, JUST AS religious!!! I believe in God. Always have. As far as walking the ?straight and narrow?, well, not always. My faith in Him has never wavered, just my application. When growing up, I participated in the local church structure. Maybe sometimes I was not a willing participant, but Mom always made sure I was physically THERE.

Thru the years I have wandered in and out of several religious structures. Although the structure may have changed, I still believed in the basic concept of God. Along with the formal ?prayer?, I have ?conversations? with God. I?ve asked for guidance, help, swift feet, get me outta this, etc. He has answered all, just sometime the answer has been ?NO?.

What I?m about to relate has been posted by me before, so bear with me. When I got the ?You need valve surgery?and soon? decree from my Cardio, my first response was ?WHY ME?. What had I done (or not done) to deserve this. But I have felt God?s hand on my life more than once. He has helped me thru many challenges in my life. I asked for his help yet again. His first response was to guide me to this site. I quickly found out there was a lot of US out there, some much worse off than me. Both the survivors and the ?in the waiting room? folks here had experiences and guidance to provide. What better help can God provide than someone who ?has been there, done that?. My apprehension was lifted. I can?t truly say I had no worries, but my wife and I felt we could get thru this, no matter what.

When we met with the surgeon, things didn?t sound rosy. My Cardio had painted a bleak picture and Dr. McGiffin, my surgeon, added a lot black. When he pointed out, based on the tests he had, that this was going to be a rough road, I never felt fear. I was not alone. I knew this without a doubt. When they got me hooked up to the machines in ICU and found things were worse than what my Cardio had established, I was not alone. When that new ?visiting preacher? happened to stop by my bed one night and we asked him to pray, I was not alone. When Dr. McGiffin told us on Wednesday that unless my pressures stabilized, my Friday operation might be postponed, I was not alone. When the Dr. from the HEART TRANSPLANT TEAM visited my bed Wednesday night to give me ?worse case? options, I was not alone. When Dr. McGiffin came to me Thursday and said everything had gotten better overnight and surgery was back on for Friday, I WAS NOT SURPRISED!!!!! Prayer meeting was Wednesday at our Church. When I was able to face up to each fear and dread, I was not alone.

I am here today by the grace of God and the surgical skill of Dr. McGiffin and his staff. I know without a doubt that their skill and knowledge were guided by God. He put me in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. I know He placed that fellow playing ?Amazing Grace? on the piano in the lobby on my day of discharge for me.

So ?Are you more religious?? No MORE, JUST AS! Now I need to get back to work before someone ask why I have these tears in my eyes.

Now Michelle, I take exception to the ?especially for the women out there,? comment. :p :p :p :p :D

May God Continue to Bless Each and Everyone,

Danny :)
 
K

Karlynn

Danny, thank you so much for sharing your story again. Yes, I remember you telling it before, but it is a story that I will never tire of reading.
 
N

NascarfanMary

When this thread began, I was leary about posting. I continued to read and I enjoyed the stories and people sharing with us.

I did post and I poured my heart out. To let you know that My experience with OHS and God is very personal. I have been amazed at some of the previous posts. Sometimes religion/ christainanity clash!!

Every one may have different points. We shouldn't bash each other. It is heartbreaking. NO ONE IS PERFECT ONLY THE GOOD LORD!!!!

I hope others will come by and share their story with us. I know I have been enjoying HEART FELT STORIES. I hope this doesn't offend anyone. If it does, I am sorry.

Isn't this a good place to share our thoughts. Ross, what do you think?
 

WayneGM

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Jun 3, 2006
Messages
4,625
Location
Waterdown, Ontario Canada
Just thought I'd resurrect this thread if anyone is still interested as it seemed to be well received.

If you haven't noticed, Ross has used his magical time machine to beam us back to happier times. :)

A fresh start if there's any takers....
 
K

Karlynn

Okay, I will, at the risk of looking foolish.

Prior to my MVR I had arrhythmia 24/7. I was tried on many different antiarrhythmics, most of which were pro-arrhythmic for me. To try and stem the anxiety and stress from them, which in turn led to more arrhythmia, I started practicing visualization. When I would have a period of feeling really awful, I would sit in my living room, with my eyes closed and visualize Jesus sitting with his arm around my shoulder. I found this so comforting. At times I could literally feel him there. My image of him is long dark hair, dark skin, homespun robes, worn hands, kind eyes.

After my MVR I had a hard time recovering. I was still having some of the panic attacks that can be a part of having mitral valve issues. One day I had to drive about an hour away to close on a remortgage on our house. On the way home, I was in an unknown area and felt a panic attack coming on. So I decided to try a visualization. I pictured Jesus sitting next to me, in the passenger seat. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his rough hands, dark hair, worn robe. I instantly started to calm down. The panic attack subsided. I didn't dare look to the passenger seat for I was afraid that would have made my image go away. But it felt as if I could clearly see him out of the corner of my eye, calmly sitting there. I made it home safely. Said a prayer of thanks and opened my door. As I walked in the house I realized that in the image I had of Jesus sitting there - he also had his seatbelt on!!!! Apparently he wasn't so sure about my driving.

I use my faith for my visualizations. But I recommend any type of visualization that takes you to a place of peace and calm. It really helped me a lot.
 
G

geebee

Great post, Karlynn. I have used visualization/biofeedback for many years.

I have tried many times to "see" Jesus and have never really succeeded. However, I do often feel Him holding my hand. I just know it is Him and am comforted in bad times and happy to share in good times.

Foolish - I think not.
 
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