Many thoughts go through your head when you are lying on a bed in the emergency room, and most of them are not good. I was trying to convince myself that everything was going to be all right, and for the most part I was doing a good job of it. There are always those nagging doubts, and they bug the stew out of me. Things like:
Did I tell my kids enough to get through this world?
Have I done all that I need to do on this planet?
Did I leave the iron on?
Stuff like that can really get into your crawl space. Well, once again, I found myself in that very position. I hate hospitals. Oh, the people are nice enough for the most part and they do a very good job. But the thought that I have to be taken care of really annoys me. I take care of my family and myself. I am built to take the pain that this world gives and ask for seconds. That is just the way I am wired.
But here I am again, looking at the ceiling, asking myself questions that I hate to answer, much less ask. Death doesnít really bother me. I know my place in Heaven is secure, so the transitional part of the journey doesnít affect me as much as it did. But, there was a time when death used to scare me silly, and he tries to use that same tactic on me from time to time.
I thought I had stared into the eyes of death enough for one lifetime, and Iím not talking about going to war or doing some crazy stunt. No, I did it the old fashion way. I wrecked my cars. Yes, I said CARS. Three of them to be precise. The first did not bother me terribly. It was quite minor, except for the steering wheel coming off and smacking me in the face. I walked out of the truck and started looking for a head to rip off.
The second was more intense. I had not the time to think like the first, and my baby girl was in the car. I held her for a good ten minutes before I was sure she was okay and not affected by the glass she was covered in. I remember not being able to stop shaking. That memory is the one that pops up first about that wreck. I could not stop shaking, and I mean all over. I think my toes were doing the tango. But, I got over it.
The third one was the biggie. Thatís the one that sent the message that I was not invincible. I had walked away from the first two with soreness and a bad back. The last one was the first time I looked death in the eyes for myself. When the car stopped, I was leaning to the side by the door. I think I blacked out for a second or two. Iím not sure about that. There was glass in my hair and I couldnít breathe very well. I went to unlock my seatbelt and a pain that had not been in my body before shot through my arm across my chest and made an awful sound when it came out of my mouth. I couldnít move one arm, and I still could not breathe. My wife was sitting next to me in hysterics. I figured I better get my act together quick, but the pain was killing me.
A quick inspection revealed a couple of cuts on my head, a lump in my shoulder, and some tender parts around my ribs. The door glass was missing, so that answered the question why was I bleeding. An even quicker rundown of anatomy revealed that my collarbone was in the same pace as that lump. All total, I had a concussion, a compression break in my collarbone and three cracked ribs.
For a few minutes, I thought I was going to die. I had never felt that much pain at one time, and I was not sure what to do about it. I started having those thoughts, and the one thing I didnít want to do was to die in Tennessee.
Donít laugh, but what finally happened was I started to do the same breathing exercises that they teach to expectant mothers. I mean to tell you, it works. I got control of my breathing, and the pain started to get better, at least until they pulled me out of the car.
I had some of these same thoughts today. Itís my 35th birthday today, and I got to spend it in the emergency room. Oh the fun of that place. But I got these thoughts because what they told me today reaffirmed every fear that I have had for the last thirty years.
I was diagnosed with stage-two hypertension. For the medically challenged out there, that means that I have high blood pressure, and itís a little more than high. This has haunted me forever. My grandfather died of a heart attack. My mother has taken medication for this for as long as I can remember. My motherís sister had a multiple bypass about three years ago. Genetics were going to catch me eventually. I had hoped I would be able to outrun it for a few more years, but it caught me today.
Am I rambling? Not exactly. I have a method to my madness. I stared into the coldest eyes ever created, and I was not afraid. Iíve always known how I was going to die. Today just confirmed it. But there was a peace that I do not understand that just came over me and eased my mind. With a calm mind, you can face anything.
Why was I so calm? You must not have been paying attention. I know what is going to happen to my soul when I no longer have a mission on this earth. I will go to the Father, and by the blood of his Son, I will enter into the gates of Heaven. I can say that without a shred of doubt. I donít think I will. I know I will.
Hereís the point; can you say that? Can you stare into the eyes of the grim reaper and smile? Do you have the assuredness of a place in Heaven that means more to you than any pain you will face o this planet? Do you think, or do you know?
Donít think. Know where you are going and know what is going to happen. I can tell you till Iím blue in the face (and I probably will) about how to know the truth. I want you to investigate it for yourself. Let the Word of God speak to you. All I ask is that you at least read it. What harm could that do? If there was a promise of heaven, and I had a doubt or two, I would at least check into it. Go into the reading of the Bible with an open mind, and just read it. Donít go looking for flaws that donít exist. Donít try to rationalize what you are reading. Take away all the preconceived notions that you have. Just read it. Now, go turn off the iron.