I was leaving home, and going to hell about as fast as I could go. It was mostly just alcohol, and a lot of it. I also had what later turned out to be a sexual addiction. My marriage was never really strong. There was a lot of infidelity and secrets, and lies going on. It seemed like it was lies layered upon lies. I became what I thought to be a really good dentist with a really good practice.
About thirteen years into my dentistry I was at a seminar in Nashville, TN. I got up Sunday morning to go home early. We had shut down the bars the night before at the Cattleman’s Restaurant. As I walked into the bathroom I fell down. I immediately jumped up. I shook my head, thinking, “This is the most hellacious hangover I’v ever had.” I broke out into a sweat, and again fell into the floor. I couldn’t move or get any traction on the tile floor. Finally I got my foot against the base of the toilet, and was able to get myself pulled out into the room with my right arm. My left side was not working. I pulled myself over to the telephone and called my brother, a Neurosurgeon in Johnson City, TN. I told him my left side was not working. He said, “Lie real still. You’re bleeding to death inside your head. You’re having a stroke.” In the ambulance I still didn’t pass out. In the emergency room they pulled the bright white curtain around me. I remember the bright white light and the exquisite pain I experienced as I lay there waiting for my brother to arrive. He chartered a plane and flew to the hospital.
When my brother walked in I asked, ‘How am I going to be?” He answered, “I don’t think there will be any more foot races.” It’s true. I haven’t been able to run since then. I was thirty-nine years old at the time. I had been practicing dentistry for about thirteen years. I was left-handed. A left-handed dentist without the use of his left hand is not too good. I went through the process of having to give up my dental practice, and sell it. I went through brain surgery to repair the damage left from the stroke.
After this event and then a divorce, my then girlfriend and soon to be wife, and I were on the Stardust 52’ steel hull houseboat I was living on at the time. It was a jungle gym for me. Every one was scared when they saw me coming into the dock driving that 52 footer with one hand and one leg.
My former Hygienist who had worked with me for twelve of the thirteen years of my practice had been praying for me all those years. She and her husband came to the houseboat. I asked her husband, Bill, “What are you up to?” He said, “Well, I’m taking a course at church now, teaching people how to share the gospel.” I said, “The gospel? What do you mean, the gospel?” He answered, “The good news of Jesus Christ.” I said, “What do you mean the good news of Jesus Christ?” He said, “All you have to do is pray, and accept Jesus in to your life.” I said, “I don’t know how to pray.” Bill said, “I can say little prayer for you. You can repeat it back to me. If you really mean it in your heart you can ask Jesus into your life.” I said, “I want to.” I asked him to say just two or three words at time because I have a short term memory loss as a result of the stroke. I’m unable to hold very many words in my mind.
He said, “Dear Lord.” I said, Dear Lord.” After the prayer I realized I had been body slammed into the kingdom of light. My life was forever changed. That is the dividing line, the water shed of my life. Those two lines; the BC life and the AD life. (BC: Before Christ; AD: After Christ) It’s so dramatically different it makes me shake my head every time I look at it. I have been a one woman man for thirty years, with no infidelity and no desire for it. Jesus took that desire away from me, and cured that addiction. I’m so thankful for it. That’s probably the greatest blessing in my Christian life, to be able to walk together in the marriage. My dream was always to be able to want to come home to a wife. I’ve had it now for thirty years.