February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

I know I’ve talked about this in the past – my family has a history of heart disease, my grandfather has had 2 bypass surgeries, my grandmother has a pacemaker.  But the importance of heart health has been reinforced to me during this past week.

One of my high school teachers died of a heart attack on Thursday.  He was not only a teacher, he was an advisor to my graduating class.  I don’t know if other schools have advisors, we were a very small Christian school and didn’t have a “guidance counselor.”  Honestly, any of our teachers were available for guidance for whatever we needed.  But our advisors were the ones who went through all four years of high school with us.  They supervised class elections and meetings and chaperoned our senior trip.

They knew us better than anyone.  As a graduation gift, they gave each of us a paperweight engraved with a character trait they felt each student embodied.  Here’s mine:

The trait engraved there is “Boldness.”  I’m not certain anyone else would have described me as “bold.”  I was smart and shy, and often came across as stuck-up.  I never felt bold – I was always unsure of myself.  Especially as I neared graduation and I felt the pressure to know what I was going to do with the rest of my life!  But Mr. S. (and Mrs. S. and Mr. M.) saw something in me.  The Bible verse inscribed below the trait reads, “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” (Psalm 138:3, NIV)  They saw beyond my uncertainty, to a person of faith who was never afraid to ask her Father for what she needs.

I know, I never write like this.  I try to keep my blog happy and light and kind of neutral.  I hope you don’t mind this deeper glimpse into who I am.  As my classmates and I are reminiscing on Facebook about Mr. S., most are remembering his sense of humor.  (He gave wet willies to almost every student in my school, although I’m pretty sure I avoided getting one.)  But I will never forget his ability to go from cracking jokes to speaking spiritual truths that he hoped would stick with us.  Don’t worry, Mr. S. – they did.

So in honor of Mr. S. and all those who have lost the battle to heart disease (which kills more people than cancer every year), will you consider giving to the American Heart Association?  If you are outside the US, please give to the local chapter of your country’s equivalent – I suddenly realized I don’t know if there is a Canadian or British equivalent, and I don’t want to give the wrong links here.  (I am not being compensated in any way for any donations made through this link.)

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