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    A New Beginning; A New Day

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    Username of the writer: LiteraryGuy

    The day is November 22, 1998–a day like no other. I have spent another exhausting day teaching classes and grading English compositions in my office at my local junior college. After feeling as if I were going to collapse, I finally decide to go home and spend the rest of the day relaxing in front of the TV set, indulging myself by eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream and watching my favorite sitcoms of yesteryear. After eating dinner, I thought that a hot shower would have washed away the stress of a long day. I managed to come out of the shower and headed to my bedroom, but as I walked into my room, I felt weak and barely had the energy to speak. Then, as I entered my closet to get my robe, I suddenly felt the room spinning. Suddenly I dropped the hanger onto the floor and heard a cracking sound in my head. I could not move my left arm, and my voice could not get past a whisper. Little did I know that I had just suffered a trans ischemic stroke. I knew all I had worked for over the years would be coming to an end.

    Following two months of feeling sorry for myself, I had to seek help. Having been raised a Christian, I felt that if I had any hope for any future, I needed the advice of a Power stronger than any individual on earth could offer me. Therefore, I turned to the only Source in dealing with my tragedy successfully: Jesus Christ.

    As a Christian all of my life, I always went through the rituals of Christianity by going to church on Sunday, doing the sign of the Cross before dinner and going to bed, and fasting during Lent. However, I never really knew Jesus.

    Yes, I knew the facts of Christ’s life, but not Jesus Himself; that is, I knew about Him, but I never had a relationship with Him. The closest I had come to having a conversation with Christ was to ask for what I wanted regarding material possessions or, I wasn’t feeling very well, I would ask Him to help me get better as soon as possible. The entire relationship (if I could call it that) was one-sided, with me doing the talking and Jesus doing the listening; however, that was a monologue, not a dialogue. However, following my stroke, I experienced a turn of events: I began seeing Jesus as an abstraction and friend.

    Since I could not find solace anywhere else, I started talking to Jesus throughout the day. At first, I felt somewhat discouraged because I was not hearing Him speak to me. Perhaps I could not listen to Him since I had never actually had a dialogue with Him and was unsure what exactly I was waiting to hear.

    I felt that my faith in God was being tested and that I had two options: either relying on my weakness to deal with a trying situation or just sitting in silence and waiting for the Lord to speak to my heart.

    Fortunately for me, the latter was the best decision I had ever made.

    Since my stroke, I had to find ways to incorporate making time for God in my life. Besides the power of prayer, I began studying the Word of God more closely. I had purchased a book that would cover the Bible in 365 days. Each day would contain readings from the Word of God followed by commentary on the readings. As I was spending a half-hour each day studying God’s Word, I would stop and reflect on the content in the text and how the principles could help me in my life. At first, I had to be conscious that I had committed myself to read the Bible daily; however, after over twenty years, I cannot end my day without spending quality time with the Lord before going to bed. Ending my day in Scripture provides me with the peace and love of God in a way that I had never experienced before.

    Fast forward to Easter Sunday, 1999. In the Greek Orthodox Church, Easter is considered to be even more popular than Christmas. This day is not only a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but it is also a reminder to all believers who have accepted Christ as their Savior that we will also become resurrected after leaving this life. Moreover, to add to the importance of this day in my life, my name in Greek, when I was baptized, is “Anastasi,” which is the Greek word for “resurrection.” Therefore, since my name day falls on Easter Sunday every year, the holiday takes special significance.

    As I was waking up on Easter Sunday, I felt a sensation in my left arm that I had not felt since before my stroke. Until then, I would not be able to use my left arm and use my right hand to lift items or perform everyday activities such as bathing and eating. For a left-handed person, that was easier said than done. However, upon waking, I could lift my arm and use it like I was accustomed to; the evening before, I was as disabled as I had been for several months. That was when I decided how faith and living my life for Christ had helped me realize that I could no longer take anything for granted. To this day, I do not make any decisions or live my life without clearing it with Jesus first.

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