Q. & A. with Heart Attack Survivor & Author – October 24th!


Q. & A. with Heart Attack Survivor, Author of

Sacred Heart Attack and Intown Community Church Elder – Jimmy Locklear

Book signing and short workshop on the value of writing your story for healing and wholeness. And what’s the value of journaling? Also, an introduction to Jimmy’s latest book Heart Journey: Following Jesus to the Heart of God, including 30 studies in the Gospel of St. Matthew. An intro journal will be given to everyone who purchases a book. $1 for each book purchased that night donated to Intown’s Deacon Fund.  (Price of books $11.95 each)   Event: Thursday Oct. 24 7:00–8:30 PM

Intown Community Church • 2059 Lavista Road • Atlanta, GA 30329 [Room 302/304]

Sacred Heart Attack available through online booksellers

SKU-000658085_COVEROn July 25th, I received the first soft cover copy of Sacred Heart Attack! This is the printer’s proof to make sure that all the pages are straight and the colors are correct. And it looked and felt great! I let the printer know on Friday that it had my approval and requested additional copies. The hard cover version takes a few more days to set up, print and bind and I’m still waiting for the first copy. I expect it by the end of the week.


You may have seen our book on the Amazon, WestBow or Barnes & Noble websites for a couple of weeks. Apparently this is commonplace to post the book before actual copies are available. And today, I noticed that Amazon had added the Kindle version is available. I quickly downloaded it to see how it looked. Awesome! Those of you who requested the ebook premium for your pledge of support, I hope to be able to send you the info on your free download shortly, too.

So, we’re just waiting for delivering of everything and then I’ll be signing and delivering to you in person or via mail ASAP.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my hopes is that my story will inspire others to share their stories and experience freedom, healing, creative empowerment or some other food for their souls. I’m hoping to take this idea a step further and use some other resources like Dan Allender’s “To Be Told” in a workshop, seminar and small group setting to encourage a process of writing your story so that you can be guided by it in the future.

Just wanted to let you know how the publishing process was progressing. It’s moved a bit faster than I had expected, so, we should have books to you by the end of August. Which is earlier than my promised September timeframe.

I’ll leave you with a couple of lines from Chapter 4 to show how sharing our stories can bring healing: “I suppose it was no surprise that everyone was shocked by the news. Since I was hundreds of miles away, we (Jenny and I) had made the decision to temporarily underplay the severity of the heart attack by not going into a lot of detail. And since I was sounding pretty good on the phone—I guess I still had some adrenaline in my system—it was easy to pull off. But from time to time, the medical staff and Curt would remind me of the reality and gravity of my situation to keep my feet on the ground.”

Talk to you soon,


Living our Christianity in our own heads

I recently mentioned in a focus group at my church that too often we live our faith within our own heads. Being a church where doctrinal beliefs are one of our key differentiators probably leads us down this path. And, I’m sure there are a host of other reasons. The problem is that good ideas don’t get implemented and people with quiet needs don’t get served.

Enlivening our imaginations should be the result of hearing and experiencing Jesus and biblical truth. When we hear how Jesus listened to cries for help, we should ask ourselves to do the same. It’s right to think about how I can listen like Jesus. Asking any number of questions about how my life can reflect the doctrines or beliefs that are taught in the Bible is a great exercise. The problem comes when those great ideas stay there!

Living and implementing my faith is critical to increasing the Kingdom of God, growing in maturity myself and seeing community flourish. How do we do that?

1)   Recognize we are on a common journey and ask for others to help us. Being in a fellowship or small group where there is “heart level” sharing and no fear of being embarrassed by sharing a weakness or struggle is necessary for growth and maturity.

2)   Find some time for solitude to share with God your desire to change and live more like Jesus in all of your relationships. There simply is no substitute for time alone with our Maker and Sustainer. If we want to live a Jesus-actualized life, then we don’t have to look very far at his pattern of activity to see that times of solitude were foundational for every day of Jesus’ journey.

3)   Surprise one of your friends, neighbors or relatives and share something you’ve been thinking about. It is critical to begin releasing the imaginations of your heart and mind so that they don’t stay in your head. If you have been thinking about reaching out to one of your neighbors or co-workers, next time you see them start a conversation with them. Find out what’s going on in their world and try to shake their hand, give them a hug or pat them on the shoulder. That’s what Jesus would do.

I’ve recently reflected on Isaiah’s vision for how God desires for us to live. This is from Isaiah 58:

6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, “Here I am.” If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

10 if you offer your food to the hungry
 and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
 whose waters never fail.

There are some amazing realities that Isaiah paints for us in this picture of shalom. We will be given light, access to God’s heart – “Here I am,” strength for our bones and water for the gardens of our lives. And it seems to all get rolling as we release our minds from the thoughts and fears that bind up our lives and act. Realizing that God prefers a “fast” that serves others and doesn’t focus on my sacrifice should also be a clue for us.

Chapter 13: To Discharge or Not to Discharge?

The discharge instructions and discussions were pretty straightforward. A pharmacist from the hospital and a student pharmacist who had been part of the resident doctors group that had followed my case came by to give me a prescription list. Included on the list were the medicines I had taken while in the hospital and which ones I would now be continuing or ceasing to take after my release.

At some point, a nurse stopped in and removed all the remaining I-V cannulas from my arms and hands; and the heart monitoring contacts or leads from my stomach, chest and shoulders. That felt good.

Dr. Lalonde came by to see how I had done over the weekend. He listened to my heart and lungs and they sounded good. Although my “numbers” looked good, he was concerned that I didn’t seem to be feeling well. First, I thought, “Wow, this guy is pretty perceptive and a damn good doctor.” Next I started worrying that he wasn’t going to let me go home tomorrow.

As we talked, I agreed that I wasn’t feeling as good as I had been on Friday and Saturday, but it was primarily due to my not having a good night’s sleep since leaving my CCU bed late Saturday evening. I told him I was feeling a bit tired and anxious, but that I expected to get a good night’s sleep tonight at the hotel and be ready to fly home the next day. Dr. Lalonde agreed that the hospital is not the best place to convalesce.

So, somewhat reluctantly, Lalonde wrote the letter giving me permission to fly to Atlanta on Tuesday. Jenny and I assured him that we would not do something carelessly and we would change our plans if I didn’t feel well. Little did I know that those promises would be called into question several times during the next 16 hours.

The hospital provided quite a cache of records and documents. So, after gathering up the official envelopes, DVDs, and permission letter, we pretty unceremoniously packed up and walked out. We said good-bye and thank you to anyone who made eye contact. There was no wheelchair and no escort!

So, here was Jenny, Jameson, Gus and I, and our first task was making the long walk to the entrance/exit of the hospital. Even though folks had told me, I had no idea what a huge operation this hospital was. There were steady streams of people entering and exiting the facility.


Why I write: An Unexpected Story

There are lots of reasons that I write. One of the foundational reasons is that it seems to be what allows me to share my heart with God. Often, the words flow from my heart to my hand to the heart of God. I feel a closeness to my Creator when I am expressing my thoughts and feelings through written or typed phrases and sentences. I’ve recently written an article for the L’Arche Atlanta Spring Newsletter that shows the importance of sharing our stories with others. Here’s the story I shared:


Rimas, Jimmy, Martynas, Jed & Jenny

An Unexpected Story

We were only together for three days, but we shared many profound moments. And it is a stretch to share such deep heart connections that our family made with Rimas and Martynas during the home visit weekend prior to the L’Arche International Assembly held in Atlanta in June of 2012. But, I’ll give it a try.

Rimas is the community director for L’Arche in Vilnius, Lithuania that is called Betzatos Bendruomene which means Bethesda Community commemorating the healing that Jesus did in the pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem. Martynas was the founding core member of the community and is an accomplished artist. Rimas was a Franciscan Brother for five years before God called him into business and he is now married with three children. We made our initial introductions via Skype a few days before their arrival in Atlanta.

We had a wonderful time from the start, enjoying cooking out, sharing experiences and stories of how we became involved with L’Arche. Martynas had a short list of sites he wanted to see and things he wanted to do, so, Saturday was a long and full day. After a hearty breakfast of waffles, bacon, and fruit, we were off to explore downtown Atlanta. Martynas wanted to buy a Coca-Cola from the World of Coke and we stopped off at Centennial Olympic Park and I explained the various neighborhoods, businesses and sports venues along the way.

We swung back by our home in the Oak Grove neighborhood and ate some lunch. I had bought a loaf of black rye bread which is a Lithuanian staple and we ate it at every meal. Then, my 22-year-old son Jed, Martynas, Rimas and I were off to Stone Mtn. to go hiking. Since it wasn’t too hot, we decided to hike up the mountain. Everyone survived and enjoyed the perspective from the top of the largest granite outcropping in the world.

Back at our house, we enjoyed cooking and eating outside and talking about our day. All along the way, we talked about life in our respective countries. Rimas spoke good conversational English, and although Martynas was fairly limited, he did not hesitate to ask Rimas to translate his questions for us. Shortly after dinner, Martynas, who requires a bit more sleep than we did, was off to bed. Our son Jed retired around 10:00 PM. So, it was my wife Jenny, Rimas and I who were talking at our dining room table. Jenny was enjoying a glass of wine, Rimas was sampling some of our fine local craft beer and I was drinking Lithuania’s oldest and noblest drink – mead – that Rimas had brought as a gift for us.

I was asking Rimas about his parents and his home life growing up. I had no idea of the power of the story he was about to tell. Rimas said that when his mother was five years old she and her twin sister were shipped to Siberia. Over one million Lithuanians (one-third of it’s 1940 population) were lost during World War II during Nazi and Soviet occupations through deportations, executions, incarceration and forced emigration. Over 150,000 were taken from their homeland and forced to go to Siberia, the Arctic Circle or central Asia by the communist government of Josef Stalin. Separated from her parents, after a four-week trip in a boxcar built for animals the five-year-old girl was forced off the train in Siberia and told to fend for herself. I was shocked as my friend shared such a painful story. I tried to imagine how a five-year-old would feel. He went on to say that after five years of that Siberian exile, she was able to escape and sneak on to a passenger train and spend two-weeks traveling the 4,500 kilometers back to her country. She made contact with an uncle and eventually made it to her uncle’s home where she was raised. Her twin sister stayed for a few years more in Siberia before being able to return to Lithuania. Approximately 30,000 died in Siberia due to starvation and slave work and another 50,000 were never able to return to Lithuania.

Rimas said that his father also had a similar experience and his parents met after they had returned to Lithuania. One of the challenges in 21st Century Lithuania is teaching the next generation about the pain and suffering of the past. Because life is so good now, there is a tendency to forget the past or not be aware of the price paid by previous generations. He said that he has told these stories to his own children and that there is a movement in Lithuania to share stories from 75 years ago.

As we talked, I was reminded that there is a story in each of us. And that it is in the sharing of our stories that we are changed and made more whole. The visit of Rimas and Martynas has now become a part of my family’s story. What’s your story? Won’t you share it with us!


Making Our Lives Available to Others

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this:   “I have nothing original to say.  Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to.”  This, however, is not a good argument for not writing.  Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived.  Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well.  Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.

We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told.  We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them. ~ Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey.