It took me 61 years to finally have my first experience with such luxury—at the push of a button—people actually come to your bedside to meet your needs!  I arrived home a couple days ago from an unexpected 4 day staycation on the 4th floor of the 4 star “hotel” located on a major thoroughfare of our city. The staff at Cape Coral Hospital took care of all my needs and then some!

IMG_6350And, go figure this—I was denied food or liquids by mouth for the first two days and then only clear liquids for another day. Finally, I had actual food the last evening I was there. And, I came home weighing nearly 10 pounds MORE than I went in. I guess it must have had something to do with about a million or so of those 2 1/2 pound bags of fluid hanging on a pole and emptying into my veins non-stop from Monday evening until Friday morning!

I had lots of time to think and reflect. I learned (or was reminded of) a few things.

Life Is Uncertain I had a packed schedule. Tons of very important meetings planned. I didn’t have any clean socks, underwear or toothbrush with me when I went to the emergency department. After all, the few other times when I’ve been at the ER, no doctor ever told me I was going to be admitted. But meetings can be missed and rescheduled. Others can and will fill in the gap.

Scripture describes the posture we should daily live in, Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15 NIV). That’s how I’ll start this coming week, because life is uncertain.

Some Things Are More Important As a pastor for 36 years, I’ve told many people, “Some things are more important than other things.” I’ve always tried to be a good steward of my temple. But when you are flat on your back absorbing the narcotic they just gave you for heavy abdominal pain, and the ER doctor gives you a worse-case scenario of the diagnosis of diverticulitis—possible surgery, a temporary colostomy and a second surgery to reconnect the bowel, you listen. At least I did. Some things are more important; your health, future, well-being, staying active and quality of life.

People CareI never doubted that people cared but I did witness it in action as a recipient. While I intentionally kept my hospitalization on the down low and didn’t post it on social media or let many know, one way or another friends, family and colleagues prayed, called, texted, emailed and visited. I was touched when one of my children drove a couple hours to come and pray for me. I was honored that the hospital CEO stopped in for a brief visit. We may get the impression by watching the news that no one cares anymore. That’s really not true. People care.

People Still Love Their JobsI was so impressed by how much those in the hospital enjoy their work. My wife is a maternity nurse and of course she loves her job. Who wouldn’t love bringing new life into the world? But the food service workers, maintenance crew, housekeepers, laundry workers, spiritual service volunteers, phlebotomist, CT scan techs, doctors, nurse assistants and administrators were all smiling. I heard no one complaining. They seemed to genuinely enjoy taking care of all my needs.

Gratitude is a ChoiceI’ve believed it and preached it for years. I’ve blogged on it. I authentically experienced it for myself this past week. I’m very grateful I went to the ER when I did because I was told it could have turned out much worse had I waited. I’m filled with gratitude for the diagnosis. I don’t require surgery, radiation, chemo or immediate preparation for my funeral. Instead, I can manage a healthy future with a fiber-rich diet and avoiding a few foods I can easily live without. I’m sincerely grateful for my wife, my children, my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers, and my pastors. I’m thoroughly grateful for God’s grace, healing, peace and presence, at all times in all situations.

Each part of our journey in life can be something we just go through or grow through. I’m thankful that my first hospital experience was a time of learning and blessing. God is good.

Previous Blogs on Gratitude:

Gratitude — Pathway to Health

Live Every Day With Gratitude

Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life

A Day of Gratitude

Full of Gratitude

27 responses to 5 Things I Learned Last Week

  1. Diane Archer on August 27, 2015 at 10:38 AM Reply

    I just returned from Bend/Redmond, OR. & MT. I was shocked to see you in a hospital gown!
    I started reading my emails from the last to the recent. Thank the Lord you did NOT require surgery. Your personal story is a perfect reminder that HIS “PLAN” for us happens in HIS time & He is beside us all the way. I thank God for you. Diane

  2. Greg Kappas on August 19, 2015 at 11:53 AM Reply

    I love you dear friend. Continuing to pray for complete recovery. I need to learn from you more about this dangerous condition. Interceding for you and your bride. G

  3. Marietta on August 18, 2015 at 8:19 AM Reply

    Hi Pastor Dennis, This is Marietta, Doreen’s Sister. So surprised to hear you were in the hospital, but so happy that you are back home and OK. God is so good.

  4. Tim Rawson on August 17, 2015 at 10:46 AM Reply

    Heal well and rest up Pastor!

  5. Mary Mueller on August 17, 2015 at 7:30 AM Reply

    Hi Dennis! I just want to add my happiness over your good experience/report/diagnosis/health and outlook! May God continue to bless you and your family.

  6. Kim McDonald on August 16, 2015 at 10:06 PM Reply

    Pastor Dennis, I’m so sorry you had such a scare. Diverticulitis is something to take serious, make sure you follow exactly what the doctors tell you. I too have diverticulitis, went through 3 surgeries within in 2.5 years and having a good part of my large intestines removed. I am so happy to hear you brushed surgery, God is good!! The power of prayer is an amazing thing. Continued prayers for you!!

    Kim McDonald

  7. Adriana on August 16, 2015 at 9:13 PM Reply

    So happy to hear you are doing better! Have been praying for you.

  8. Gregge Johnson. on August 16, 2015 at 11:24 AM Reply

    Diverticulitis gave me a new meaning of PAIN ,and a very grateful Joy of Relief of Pain ! JESUS said we would suffer in this world , —— the Joy of relief is knowing the best is yet to come !,,,,

    • Dennis Gingerich on August 16, 2015 at 7:19 PM Reply

      Thanks Gregge for the reminder that Jesus never promised easy!

  9. Ann D on August 16, 2015 at 10:15 AM Reply


  10. Gina Taylor on August 16, 2015 at 9:12 AM Reply

    I think of you so often. Im so glad you will be fine with just a few adjustments to your diet.
    What an amazing impact you have had on my life and my son as well.
    Thank you for being you.
    Thank God for you

  11. Elaina Mercado Marino on August 16, 2015 at 8:54 AM Reply

    This made me cry pastor Dennis. Im so grateful your ok. I go through those hospital stays at least 3 times a year because of my chronic pancreatitis. Each time i go in , i come out more humble and more grateful ,more changed and more appreciative of life. I am so glad that you are ok. God bless you Pastor Dennis and God bless your family. Praying you through a quick recovery . Take it easy and take care your self.
    Hugs from
    Your friends at the Marino house.

  12. Myron Augsburger on August 16, 2015 at 8:49 AM Reply

    Thanks, Dennis, for sharing. We didn’t know of this experience, but thank the Lord for your good spirit, insights, and recovery. As you walk with the Lord none of this takes Him by surprise, he is there walking with you ! Our love. Myron and Esther

    • Dennis Gingerich on August 16, 2015 at 7:17 PM Reply

      Thanks Myron. Yes, exactly, none of it caught God by surprise!

  13. Jason Garner on August 16, 2015 at 8:37 AM Reply

    Wow Pastor Dennis, thank God you are alright. I enjoyed reading this. We are praying for your continued and eventual full recovery. Hope to see you round the church house soon 🙂

    • Dennis Gingerich on August 16, 2015 at 7:16 PM Reply

      Thanks for your prayer Jason! I was at church this morning.

  14. Lori on August 16, 2015 at 7:55 AM Reply

    Glad to hear you are better. Life tends to take us by surprise and being grateful for what we have and those around us is so important. I am grateful for you and your church.

  15. Marilyn Stout on August 16, 2015 at 6:49 AM Reply

    So glad all is well. I too was in CCH last week, but day surgery. All is well and I too thank the Lord.

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