GOOD MORNING FRANKLIN COUNTY
Today is Friday, February 18, 2005. Expect mostly clear skies today with a high of 53 degrees. On this day in history:
1546 – Martin Luther dies in Germany.
1564 – Michelangelo dies in Rome.
1678 – John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress" is published.
1885 – Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is published.
1930 – The planet Pluto is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh.
1979 – "Roots: The Next Generation" premieres on ABC-TV.
1988 – Anthony Kennedy is sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.
A SPECIAL PERSON
Twelve years ago I went through an extremely stressful time in my life. Our pastor and music minister at First Baptist Church had both recently resigned and I decided to volunteer to fill in as interim pastor as well as continue to serve as minister of students and education. The deacons kept asking me how I was holding up and I kept telling them I was fine. I actually was handling everything pretty well for about two months. Then it started.
The strain of the work load started to affect me in January of 1993. First, I found out my blood pressure was increasing. Next, I noticed I was becoming emotionally numb to anything and everything. Then came the panic attacks, the racing thoughts, and difficulty eating and sleeping. The worst thing was the inability to concentrate or keep focused for any length of time.
I had dealt with episodes of depression in my teens and early adult years but I knew I was not facing depression. This was something new and something very frightening. My family doctor suggested I see a Christian psychiatrist in Decatur by the name of Dr. George Twente. I had to wait almost a month for an appointment and I really think that was the longest month of my life. I had reached a point where I wondered if I would ever get better.
Finally, the day arrived for my appointment. Many people were praying for me and Dr. Twente that day. He was able to quickly diagnose my condition as an anxiety disorder and with his help, I eventually recovered. Over the next few years, I would learn a lot about myself and anxiety, all thanks to my wonderful Christian doctor, George Twente.
My last visit with Dr. Twente was about seven years ago. He had moved his practice to Meridian, Mississippi, and I made a trip down there to let him know I was doing well and just to talk, mainly about God and life. Dr. Twente told me that he loved flying and had built an airstrip near his home. He was in the process of building his own plane.
Dr. Twente completed that plane and took his flying to new levels by practicing aerobatics in his Pitts 12 Monster, designed especially for those kind of maneuvers. I learned this week that Dr. George Twente died last Sunday when his plane went into a flat spin and crashed near his home near Meridian. He was 59.
There is a line in the Hippocratic Oath that states, "I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug." Those words were certainly true of Dr. George Twente.
If we are lucky, we will have the privilege of crossing paths with someone who will make a big impact on our lives. To say that Dr. George Twente made an impact on me is an understatement. He literally saved my life and that I will never forget. And for that I always be thankful.
Richard Parker is Minister of Students and Education at First Baptist Church in Russellville. You can e-mail him your comments at RParker@russellvilleFBC.org.