"Are you okay?” my new small group leader asked as I slid into a chair at the round table one recent morning. I was late and everyone was talking, but the conversation suddenly stopped and all eyes were on me, and for good reason. My shirt did not cover up a bunch of wires connected to little suction cups attached to my skin and the bulky battery box at my waist.
I’d already had a long morning: driving a friend to the hospital for an outpatient procedure at six o’clock without telling her I was in A-fib, which is a racing, irregular heartbeat—an increasingly worrisome problem for me. Later on my way to Bible study, I stopped by my doctors’ office and a nurse slapped a heart monitor on me, telling me to wear it for the next 48 hours.
By the time I got to Bible study, I felt embarrassed, worried, and on the edge of tears. Now I faced a choice: How much would I reveal to this group of women, some of whom I hardly knew? How vulnerable was I willing to be?
As I started to talk, my eyes got teary in spite of my determination not to cry.
“I’m okay,” I responded, surprised at my wobbly voice and the tears that started spilling out, along with some descriptions about the heart monitor, my recent symptoms, and my fears.
Somebody found a box of tissues and plopped it down near me, which escalated the drama and made me feel more self-conscious. “I hate crying in front of people,” I admitted. Several women nodded their agreement, and one asked if she could pray for me, which she did.1