Not Your Heart Be Troubled
Red State ^ | Erick
I remember it so clearly — a memory you can only
remember so clearly when it is from sadness. You can’t
let it go.
I was sitting in the mud by the rear passenger
side tire of my old Acura cradling my one year old in
the steady, driving rain. I was sobbing doing my best
not to fall apart in front of my little girl. But the
tears ran. My throat hurt as I tried to suppress the
guttural cries I wanted to cry there in the mud.
RedState, which got up and running in 2004, was
out of money. No one wanted to put ads on a conservative
site after the Democrats had just delivered an absolute
shellacking to the GOP. We were out of money. Christmas
was a week away. I was out of a job.
But that was insignificant compared to where I’d
been that day. I’d just left the hospital where I had
the task of telling my wife she was dying and there was
nothing anybody could do.
Then there I was one week before Christmas in
2006 sitting in mud, leaning up against a tire covering
me in black, holding a one year old too young to know
what was going on, and sobbing in the rain too shell
shocked to even try to pray. Too overwhelmed to even
think. Out of money, soon to be a single dad, no job, a
one year old, and I was very overwhelmed.
Let not your heart be troubled is not just
something Sean Hannity came up with on his radio show.
It is not just some trite expression people use to
superficially aid and comfort others. It is a phrase
spoken by Jesus Christ found in the first verse of John
14. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;
believe also in me.”
My wife and I got married in 2000. Within three
months she had a double mastectomy not because she had
cancer, but because we knew she would get it. We waited
five years to have our first child. We figured it would
be smooth sailing after that.
The Thursday before Labor Day 2006, my wife
called me from her office. She said she was dying. She
sounded like she was dying.
We got her to the doctor who, based on her
symptoms, diagnosed her as having either a pulmonary
embolism or a gall bladder attack. He had me take her to
the ER with orders to check her for an embolism knowing
if it was not that it would be her gall bladder.
The scan came back clear. It was her gall
bladder. “Oh by the way,” they seemed to say almost in
passing. “We found some spots on her lungs.”
We went to the beach. Within twenty-four hours
of arrival my wife was in the Emergency Room at the
beach preparing for surgery. She had a blockage in her
bile duct. She was in agony. She spent a week at the
beach recovering while I took care of our one year old.
When we got home we found a message on our answering
machine from the local hospital we’d been to before our
trip. They had discovered a blockage in her bile duct
and it was vitally important we call them to schedule
immediate surgery. Ahhh . . . timing.
We finally got around to her going back to the
doctor about the spots on her lungs the week before
Christmas. I remember she came home with a scared looked
on her face. Yes, the spots were still there, but they’d
found a blood clot in her jugular vein. She had to be
admitted to the hospital for treatment. While there, the
doctors got worried about the clots plus the spots. They
decided to biopsy. That’s when they told me she was
dying. There was nothing they could do.
That night after cleaning myself up and having
help for the one year old I went back to the hospital.
My wife and I talked as you talk when you know you might
not have much longer to talk. In the course of the
conversation the surgeon came in, told us everyone had
now reviewed the biopsy, and they were sure it was not
cancer, she was not going to die, and they’d send off
the biopsy for more study.
Turns out she has a relatively benign condition.
Within a day or so, Eagle Publishing, Inc.
called and offered to buy RedState. They’d keep me on as
an employee. I had my wife and my job.
Fast forward four years. I had not had a pay
raise, we were dependent on two incomes to make ends
meet, and my wife, given everything she’d been through,
wanted to stay home with the kids. We knew it was the
right thing to do. We just did not know how to make up
the loss of income. We took a leap of faith and my wife
left her job.
Literally the next day, and I use literally
intentionally as it was literally the next day, my boss
called and told me I was finally getting a pay raise. It
was identical — dollar for dollar identical to what my
wife would be giving up. A week later CNN came calling.
I would never have been able to do my job at CNN without
my wife staying home.
A year later, Cox Media Group asked me to be on
My life is not all peaches and roses. But I
write this whole story and highlight the ups, not the
downs, because I do not believe in coincidences. I do
not believe in luck. I believe in an active Creator. I
have experienced too much in my life to lead me to think
this is all atoms and physics and chemistry and
coincidence. I have experienced pain and misfortune and
sadness, but as much as those things too define me it is
the joys of life I dwell on.
There is a man upstairs. He has a plan. And
while I do not know the mind of the Creator, I know this
all works for the good of those who are called according
to His purpose. I do not know His plan, but I have
experienced enough in my life to know I should trust Him
and that His plan, however confounding it may seem, is a
good plan that will work out in the end for the best.
So I raise my head these last few days and see
liberals salivating at the idea that it might be a right
wing tea partier who blew up Boston while conservatives
are convinced it is a Middle Eastern terrorist. I see
the whaling and gnashing of teeth over gun control, the
evil of Kermit Gosnell, and the politicization of
everything. Then there is the destruction in Waco, the
dead and injured — it is enough to make you want to sit
in the mud while holding your child close and cry.
It should be hard to be optimistic, but I, a
natural pessimist, I am optimistic. I have hope. I know
that there is a higher purpose to it all. I know that
there is not just the rudimentary day to day existence
in which we live, but there is a master plan to it all.
I know some of you do not believe that and you are
entitled to reject that. But I have experienced too much
in my life and see clearly in hindsight an active
presence who leads me somewhere down a path I did not
choose, but on which I walk.
Choosing to let your heart not be troubled is
not easy. It is often hard. We see bombings in Boston,
planes flying into tall buildings, politicians and
citizens at each others throats and it seems the whole
world has gone mad. But the world has always been mad.
We are just more aware of it these days with bold events
that shock the conscience.
We are on a blue marble circling a giant ball of
plasma that if we draw too close to we burn up as we and
it hurtle around a black hole at the center of a galaxy
scientists believe will one day collide with another
galaxy. The world is a crappy, hostile place in a colder
than ice dangerous expanse of vacuum, radiation, and
sweet meteors of death. The thought that we exist as we
do at all borders on absurdity.
And yet there is a one year old who, though she
knows not why her father cries in the rain and mud, pats
his face to tell him it is okay. There are strangers
who, instead of running from the blast, turn to it to
help those who have fallen. There is a President some of
us care little for who chooses his words carefully to
bind the wounds of dark days for all of us regardless of
The world is not meant to be fair. It is a
maddening place filled with bad and evil. But the good
shines through. The right overwhelms the wrong. The very
real good slays the very real evil. The smiles break
through the tears.
You do not have to be mad in a maddening world.
You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be
optimistic. You can choose to let not your heart be
I am a man who had to tell my wife she was going
to die. I can tell you confidently it is no easy thing
to let your heart not be troubled. But I can tell you in
a world where so many politicize everything, we yell at
each other, and every hill is a hill on which to die,
whether you choose to believe or not there is good and
there is evil and there is a man upstairs who has a plan
that while we may not know it we can be assured that all
things, even in the pit of the various hells on this
present earth, yes all things do work for the good of
those called according to his purpose. He brings forth
water from rocks and bread from heaven and you and me
from the dust of the earth, stitching us together in our
So let not your heart be troubled. The sun still
shines. The smiles are still there. The good graces
between neighbors still exist. Bad things will always
and have always happened. But love and good and right
prevail even in the madness of the present age.