VanLast week was the first anniversary of my heart attack. My celebratory plan was to go to McDonald’s for a double cheeseburger, large fries, and a chocolate milkshake.

I tried to keep my plan secret, at least from someone in the house, but I failed most miserably.

Somehow The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage discovered my celebratory plans. How she found out, I don’t know, but I sure would like to know.

She stood in front of me for a moment, with both hands on her hips, and said, “If you proceed with your celebratory plans, a heart attack will be the least of your problems.”

Not knowing exactly what she meant, I immediately canceled my plans just to be on the safe side.

Then I realized she had plans of her own. I had an appointment with my heart doctor on Monday morning at 11 o’clock. I have a checkup every six months; this was my one-year anniversary.

Of course, I had forgotten about that appointment so all my plans were put in my back pocket to save for some other time.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage offered to drive me to my appointment, and because it was at 11 o’clock, she made plans for lunch. I was completely okay with that; the only problem was we would have to go in her Sissy Van.

It was only to the doctor’s office and then to lunch, so that shouldn’t be too long. I don’t like riding in that crazy little Sissy Van in which the seating is so tiny my knees are in my face the whole trip. I figured it was only a short time, so I could handle it.

We arrived at the doctor’s office just before 11 o’clock. I signed in and waited for the doctor.

While there, I remembered why doctors call us “patients.” It takes great patience to wait for the doctor to call you into his office. My appointment was at 11 o’clock, and by 11:40, the nurse finally called me into his office.

I was worried because it was getting close to lunchtime, and I never want to be late for lunch.

I spent about a half-hour with the doctor while he checked my vitals and then said, “You’re good. Everything seems excellent.”

I asked him, “Could I have that in writing with your signature?” I wanted someone in our house to know I was “good.”

After making plans for my next appointment, we left and got back into that little Sissy Van on our way to lunch. It takes me as long to get into the Sissy Van as it does the doctor to examine me. Oh boy.

Finally, we were on our way to lunch. She wanted me to go with her to a diner she and her daughters discovered a little while back. I was all in for that, and we had a nice time eating lunch.

Then, back in the Sissy Van, and, as I had hoped, we were on our way home. I was getting tired of kissing my knees while traveling.

“You know what,” my wife said as we drove out of the parking lot. “I need to stop and pick up a piece of jewelry that’s ready for me at the mall.”

Looking at me, she said, “You don’t mind if we stop there, do you? After all, we go right by it. It won’t take long.”

I was okay with that, but I wasn’t going to go in because by the time I could get out of the Sissy Van, she could have gone in, picked up her jewelry and come out. So I stayed in the Sissy Van.

She returned, and driving out of the parking lot, we passed one of her favorite stores. Something along the lines of Tuesday Morning, whatever that might be. And she said, “While we’re here, I think I should go in and pick up some things I need for my craft room.”

Again, I stayed in the Sissy Van, kissing my knees while waiting for her to return.

She got back into the van, and driving down the street, we stopped at one of her favorite thrift stores. I wouldn’t say this out loud, but her favorite thrift store is the one she’s shopping at the moment.

We continued visiting thrift stores for the rest of the afternoon, and I was trapped in that silly old Sissy Van.

Finally, we were within two blocks of our house, and I was afraid she would pass another thrift store I had no idea about.

We got home, and it took me some extra time to extricate myself from that Sissy Van. As I got out and stood up, my knees were wobbling, but I did reach the front door, got inside, and headed for my easy chair.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage brought all her shopping goods in from the Sissy Van and put them on the dining room table.

She looked at me with a big smile and said, “That was a wonderful day. Wasn’t it?”

In thinking about my adventure I was reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:2-3. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

This unity is something I work at with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Rev James Snyder videoDr. James L. Snyder, is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. James is an award winning author whose books are available at

Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail [email protected]. The church web site is

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