This last weekend, I was able to get a little bit of downtime. My building is currently undergoing major construction (picture this: 50 men with jackhammers, drilling all day long), and the noise is unbelievable. So, I left my place this weekend (because they work on Saturdays), and I hopped down the way to a local resort for Saturday and Sunday.
I have the big International Maxwell Certification event coming up in just over a week now, and I knew I needed a short reprieve from the non-stop meeting schedule I’ve had as we lead up to the event.
It was great! I had a couple calls in the morning on Saturday, and then I was able to relax the rest of the day. Sunday morning was much the same. The weather was beautiful as I laid out by pool and took in some much needed Vitamin D.
Then my plan was to leave the resort mid-afternoon, stop by the hospital to see my best friend’s mom, who had just gone through surgery a couple weeks ago, and was back in for some “minor complications.”
And I would finish off the day with an impromptu sushi dinner with my good friends, Heather and Andrew Manzano.
Sounds like a pretty good day to me!
I left the resort shortly after 3pm, and I made my way to the hospital.
Some of you would know Dr. Harry Bafitis. He’s a world-renowned plastic surgeon, living and practicing in Jupiter, Florida, and his mom, Stella Bafitis, is a 97-year-old spitfire. At 97 years old, I swear she’s got more life in her than 99% of the population. And she’s been like a mom to me for many years. I love Stella dearly, and I am DEFINITELY the lucky one to have Stella in my life.
Well, Stella has had some health bumps over the last 6 weeks, including surgery and other health complications. On Friday, she was admitted back into the hospital, but she was in great spirits, sitting up in bed, laughing with her family, fully alert, even walking around the hospital floor.
When I heard that our beautiful Stella was back in the hospital, I knew I needed to stop by to see her. I figured it would be a quick 15-minute visit to tell her I loved her and was praying for her, and to give her a kiss on her cheek.
I pull up to the hospital, and right as I’m arriving, I see Harry’s girlfriend, Katherine, just getting into her car. Katherine comes over to talk to me… “Stella’s just been moved to ICU… I’ll be back in an hour, I just need to get some food…”
Stella in ICU… that doesn’t sound good…
I go into the hospital and find my way to Stella’s room. The second I lay eyes on her, I know I will be there all night. The beautiful, lively, vibrant Stella looked like I had never seen her before. She was curled up in the hospital bed. I could just make out the outline of her frail body beneath the bed sheets. She was pale and comatose, with a breathing mask covering most of her face, seemingly unaware and unresponsive to her surroundings.
Immediately, my eyes welled up.
My poor Stella! My poor mama! Oh, how I love this woman.
I truthfully didn’t think she was going to make it through the night. Both of her sons were out of town, and her daughter-in-law would be back in a little while, but I just couldn’t leave her like this.
The doctors weren’t too hopeful either. Her turn for the worse had happened so suddenly and so “out of the blue.”
I sat there with her and I held her hand. I kissed her forehead and stroked her hair. I spoke words of love and peace to her. I didn’t know what else I could do. Periodically, the nurse would come in to check on her, and as they moved her petite body, she let out these terrible moans of pain.
It was all I could do to hold back the tears.
My beautiful Stella! Stella, who has taught me so much about life, about loyalty, about persistence! Stella, who has lived through almost 10 decades, who has seen this whole world change in every conceivable way, who speaks 5 languages, and whose spirit is so full of life!
Suddenly, all the plans I had made went out the window. I let Andrew and Heather know what was going on, and that I wouldn’t be able to meet them after all. And I sat there, and I just held her hand.
A little bit later, another doctor came in, this one specializing in infections. This doctor’s best estimation was that Stella must have picked up an infection somewhere, and it had now gone septic throughout her body, and that’s why she was crashing.
The only thing to do with an infection is to treat it with antibiotics, and hope that the prognosis is correct.
The next thing I know, the nurses are back in the room, setting up a special antibiotic IV for Stella. I continued to sit there with her, doing all that I could do to surround her with thoughts of love and prayers and strength and peace.
Now, what happened next was truly incredible. Over the course of the next hour, it was like Stella came back to life. Her color came back. Her blood pressure began to get stronger. Her breathing started to calm down and even out. Whatever was attacking her small body was being eliminated at last, and Stella’s spirit was taking over once again.
At about 11pm that night, Harry arrived, coming straight from the airport. I watch him take her hand and say to his mom, “Mom, squeeze my hand if you can hear me…” and sure enough, her hand tightened around his.
We all start to breath a little easier. And I sit there with her and her son for another couple of hours.
I left the hospital around 1am, and I knew I would be back again the next morning. It didn’t matter what my schedule looked like on Monday – it’s moments like these that I’ve prepared my whole life for. If I didn’t take the time to be with Stella, and to support Harry and Katherine and their family through this, then really what’s the point.
The first thing I do on Monday morning is to jump in my truck and make my way right back to Stella.
It’s true, these last few days have been challenging. I’ve spent more time at the hospital than I’ve probably spent there since my father was dying many years ago.
It was a curveball in my plans. I hadn’t factored in being at the hospital for many hours on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But I KNEW I had to be there. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, what do you do when life throws you a curveball? I’m sure you know this is a metaphor from baseball. What does the batter do when the pitcher throws a curveball?
Well, he adjusts his stance. He picks up his foot and he repositions himself in order to take it.
And that’s what we have to do when we get thrown a curveball. This is a metaphysical process. The shift must be made on the “meta” level – the mental level. And it must be made on the physical level. I had to shift my mindset and I had to shift my physical life too, my plans and my schedule.
Some people get hung up on the word “metaphysical,” thinking that it is “new age” and anti-Christian. But the fact is, we live in a metaphysical world. And I would go so far to say, we live in a spiritual metaphysical world – spiritual, mental, physical.
Sometimes, when a curveball is coming our way, we try and shift one without the other. We try and make the mental shift, but not the physical, or vice-versa. And it just doesn’t work that way.
Instead, when we can be congruent in all three of these areas, we can stand in our truth.
The moment I saw Stella, my spirit knew I couldn’t leave her. So, with that spiritual decision, I then made a metaphysical shift.
I was eating dinner out of a vending machine on Sunday night. That wasn’t in the plan, and certainly not the healthiest choice. You know it’s bad when you’re staring at a vending machine, wondering if KitKat or Snickers is healthier… but it was the only choice if I was going to stay right there with Stella. And that wasn’t even a question. So, I made the shift.
I shifted on the spiritual level, and then I allowed my mindset and my behavior to align accordingly with my spiritual state and my spiritual decision.
Now, let me tell you, because I’m sure you all want to know, Stella is doing better. She is still in ICU, but we are hopeful that she will regain her strength and make her way out of ICU and back to her own home again. Who knows how much life is left in Stella!
One thing I know is I would NEVER be so stupid to bet against Stella Bafitis!
So, let me end this message by saying, don’t take a single moment that you have with your “Stella” for granted.
And when life throws you the curveball, and your spirit knows you need to shift, then pick up your foot, and shift your stance. And be there for those who need you the most, when they need you the most.
I believe in you and I believe in your dream!!
Hold Your Image!!