Monthly Archives: June 2022

It’s Gonna Be OK

Kaiser Santa Clara Medical Center ICU Waiting Room ~ June 7, 2022

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news first: I woke up this morning to the following message from Amazon:

Your title may experience a temporary delay in publishing. Our teams are working to review and publish your book as quickly as possible.

Instantly, the failure demons that have hounded me for most of my adult life rejoiced. My meticulously planned rollout for the paperback version of Summer in the Waiting Room fell flat. “We knew it”, the demons gleefully told me. Anxious adrenaline pulsated through my body as my mind frantically searched for a solution. My first instinct was to communicate with Amazon to either sweet-talk or browbeat them into fixing the problem IMMEDIATELY!

The good news: My spiritual journey has taught me that it’s gonna be OK. After taking a deep breath, I prayed and reflected on Ecclesiastes 3:1. It inspired me to write this post and share my thoughts on accepting what is. It took a while, but faith ultimately overwhelmed the failure demons. 

Let me tell a little story . . .

During the early 1990s, I became mesmerized with politics. I wanted to be an elected official to make a positive impact on the community. I wanted to do that really bad. When I was thirty-two years old, I ran for a seat on the elementary school board. I didn’t have much experience, but I worked very hard. I lost to longtime incumbents by a slim margin. I tried two more times over the course of the next four years with the same result.

Failure demons had haunted me for most of my adult life. A self-imposed pressure cooker of stress caused sleepless nights, headaches, and a never ending supply of fight-or-flight adrenaline flowing through my body. I hadn’t yet learned that anxiety and worry were barriers to inner peace. Nor did I realize that such mental suffering also caused stress on my heart (more on that later). 

Ten years after my first attempt at public office, a twist of fate gave me an opportunity to serve as an appointed official for the East Side Union High School District. Was it a twist of fate or was it God’s “appointed time” as described in Ecclesiastes 3:1? I had an extra decade of life under my belt. I had more leadership experience as a corporate vice president and chairperson of a non-profit board. 

I served for four years, including one year as board president in 2010. Schools were reeling from massive budget cuts caused by the Great Recession. In four years, we had to cut over $20 million from the East Side budget. Despite the financial constraints, I led the successful effort to save sports programs and established a policy that gave every student a chance to be eligible for college after graduation.

Both policies have had a lasting impact on students. It all worked out according to God’s plan. Personally, it came with a huge cost. A genetic predisposition to heart disease and years of angst, stress, and needless worry brought my life to a screaming halt. Just like that. 

Looking back, that heart attack twelve years ago is the second best thing that ever happened to me, behind meeting Sandra and the birth of our girls. It taught me that everything happens in God’s appointed time. It taught me that worry, impatience, anxiety, and stress over things outside of my control is a worthless activity. It taught me about the true meaning of faith, hope, and love. It taught me that everything is gonna be OK.

What the heck does this have to do with the paperback version of Sumer in the Waiting Room not being published on June 7, 2022 as promised?  Everything!

Today is the 12th anniversary of the heart attack that kicked off the summer in the waiting room. For nine out of the last eleven years (Covid precautions prevented visits in 2020-2021), I’ve gone on a one-man pilgrimage to the ICU waiting room at Kaiser Santa Clara to pray, reflect, and seek inspiration. I went today after the morning crisis. I said a prayer of thanksgiving, reflected on my journey, and found inspiration.

I’ve inflicted enough damage to my mind and body over things I can’t control. I’m finally good with the fact that shit happens. The sun will still peek over the east foothills tomorrow morning at 5:46 am. It’s all in God’s hands. There is an appointed time for everything. I decided to leave it to God and Amazon to work out.

By the time I got home, God had spoken. He had good news. The appointed time had come. 

God gave me peaceful hope and Amazon resolved the delay in time to meet the June 7, 2022, release date. You can buy your copy of “Summer in the Waiting Room” today after all!

Thank you, God.

June 7, 2010

Summer in the Waiting Room ~ Chapter 13

Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love

Chapter 13: June 7, 2010

Sandra drove as fast as she could. The discomfort in my shoulders and upper chest increased as every minute went by. She dropped me off at the entrance to the clinic and quickly drove away to find a parking space. I labored into the building, took the elevator to the second floor, made my way to the doctor’s office, and checked in at 7:26 p.m. The doctor reviewed the vital signs, asked me a few questions about how I felt, and immediately ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG) to determine if there were any irregularities in my heart function.

The nurse attached electrodes to my chest, turned on the EKG machine. We watched the machine whiz and purr as the needle on the printout page rapidly moved in a zigzag motion, drawing tiny peaks and valleys on computer paper. As soon as the machine stopped whirring, the nurse ripped out the computer printout and quickly disappeared into the hallway. The doctor came back seconds later to tell us the EKG reading was abnormal, and I should proceed to the emergency room for more tests.

By the time the doctor finished her diagnosis, the nurse was in the hallway, standing behind the wheelchair that was to take me to the emergency room on the other side of the large complex. Walking briskly, she pushed the wheelchair out of the clinic hallway, into the clinic lobby, and out to the main hallway that led to the hospital, about half a city block away. The nurse moved swiftly as she fumbled with her cell phone. Sandra offered to push the wheelchair so the nurse could use her phone. Suddenly the nurse’s brisk walk turned into a trot and, ultimately, a jog to the emergency room. Tall floor-to-ceiling windows formed a breezeway that connected the clinic to the hospital. I could see out to the cafeteria and the parking lot beyond. Life outside was moving at its usual pace, and I was heading toward a crisis.

My mind swirled with random thoughts that ranged from doom to confusion to relief. Could I be having a heart attack? Why didn’t the doctor say that? Was she just taking precautions by sending me to the emergency room? Why was Sandra pushing the wheelchair at a jog? Why was the nurse excitedly talking on the phone and to whom? I couldn’t hear what she was saying because of the noise that was filling my head with questions.

We got to the elevator in the hospital and went down one floor. When the elevator doors opened, we raced across the lobby straight into the emergency room, where I arrived at 7:41 p.m. Three doctors wearing white smocks waited for us. Within seconds, I got my answer. One of the doctors said, in a calm and matter-of-fact voice, “Mr. García, you’re having a heart attack.”


To be continued . . . at!

Order your copy of Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love on Tuesday, June 7, 2022!