Roy C. Jones

2015 – The Year I Got Ready to Meet God

Roy C. Jones, CFRE
Roy C. Jones, CFRE

“Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas

I haven’t talked much about it, but 2015 was supposed to be the year I met God… (And yes, He was expecting me.)
It began with a routine physical and stress test in February. The next thing I knew I was wheeled into the emergency room because my racing heart would not slow down.  It soared to almost 200 beats per minute and stayed there for more than 4 hours.
The doctors finally decided the only way to stop it was to “shock” the heart back into rhythm.  They brought a second cardiologist into the room and the last thing I remember is the two paddles being lowered to touch my chest.
I woke to the sound of the heart monitor slowing down to a normal pace, almost immediately my resting heart rate returned to 60 beats per minute.
The next six months were filled with endless doctors visits and 24/7 wearing an external heart monitor that registered every beat of my heart on a monitor in the cardiologist’s office. When my heart would start to race, my cell phone would ring and the nurse on the other end would interrupt my meeting or work day to ask me to go sit down or return to my hotel to lay down until my heart rate dropped.
It was a crazy way to live for a guy whose life has been running at 90 miles an hour. I help raise money for charities who feed the hungry and care for the poor so I am on the road over 150 days a year.  Of View More:, disconnecting my heart monitor while running through airports drove both TSA and my doctors crazy!
Struggling with a heart condition that had my doctors baffled, brought a lot of reflection and prayer back into my life. It forced me to slow down and think. I thought about my purpose in life, but most often I thought about how short life really is… At 56 I had so much more I wanted to do.  Was God really done with me?
Jones boys 2015I drove my three sons crazy… Wanting to see my grandkids again and again for a kiss and a hug. Telling my sons how proud I was of them and their wonderful wives. My wife and I talked about our funerals and what we wanted to do.  Of course, I drove her crazy, too, with my insistence that my ashes be spread at the LU mark on Liberty Mountain so the winds could carry me across the campus of Liberty University. I can think of no better place to rise to meet Jesus than the place that transformed my life on this earth.
My wife and I worked hard to refurbish our home. We didn’t know how much time I had so we were preparing for when I was gone. The goal we set was to sell our “big” house and buy her a small place in Hershey near her mom and a second small place near my mom in Florida for after I’m in my new home in heaven.
I travelled every weekend to watch our youngest baby boy (6’5″-320lbs) Grant Grant - PrayingJones play his last year of college football at California University. I would not want to miss a game because it could be my last.
I decided if I was going to go I would do it while accomplishing something that will outlive me for eternity.
In 2015, I met with more non-profits, philanthropists and charities than I ever had before.  I travelled to over 50 cities this year, met with over 80 charities and flew more than 100,000 miles… That year alone I was through the Charlotte airport 97 times.  Thanks to my friend Roy in GuateVernon Brewer and World Help.  I travelled to Central America to rescue dying children from the effects of unclean water.  This has been on my “bucket list” since managing a Presidential campaign in Guatemala in the 1980s.
Raising funds to help the poor, hungry and homeless gives my life, however long or short, true meaning…. Now I’m being told by a nurse on the phone to sit down, quiet down, calm down and lay down.
We prayed!  Melinda and I prayed daily God would heal this racing heart of mine. Every time I went through airport security and temporarily removed my heart monitor… I prayed. Every morning as I awoke and took a deep breath, I prayed. Every night before I closed my eyes, I prayed.  The fact is I spent more time seeking and speaking to the Lord in 2015, than in all the other 56 years of my life combined. Each and every time the answer from God was always, “Don’t worry…”
The doctors were baffled… Tests of all kinds: CT scans, EKG scan, EP test and multiple MRI’s. In the end the doctors finally decided to do a do an exploratory surgical heart ablation.
This is a procedure to treat atrial fibrillation (AFib), my type of irregular heartbeat. It can help keep your heartbeat in a normal rhythm. Many call this surgery the “maze” procedure because of the snaking process of scaring the heart muscle to stop the electrical nodes that sparked my heart to race.  Of course, we were hoping that I’d be like most people and be able to have keyhole surgery or robotically assisted surgery. These operations let the doctor make heart rateseveral small incisions rather than open-heart surgery. Sometimes this is called a modified-maze procedure. They insert either a video camera or tiny robot to guide the surgical ablation of your heart.  Again, as weird as it sounds they try to create scar tissue on your heart that helps keep your heartbeat at the right pattern.
The week finally came in August to meet the surgeon and get the procedure scheduled. The surgeon ordered another full battery of blood work and tests. Then the surgeon came across something that a dozen other doctors before him this year missed.  One of only two medications I take, has a weird side-effect.  It only effects one of every 500,000 people… an accelerated heart rate.
As soon as I stopped taking the medication, every symptom immediately disappeared. The medical team went back to monitoring my heart rate… No recurrence of any symptom had happened in over 120 days.  The doctors cancelled the surgery and convincingly believe that the medication was the problem.
View More: family and I celebrated and praise God!  Melinda and I celebrate daily and praise God. Every time I go through airport security,  I praise Him. Every morning as I awake and take a deep breath, I praise God. Every night before I close my eyes, I praise Him.
Make no mistake about it, 2015 was supposed to be the year I met God… And yes, I did meet Him!  He has transformed my life forever…
“Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas

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