My view never changes. From my small room, B bed, I have a window to the outside world. One white birch tree hugs a chain link fence, and the top half of a tennis dome rises above it. I can’t see the ocean that lives only three blocks away; but on a quiet night when James isn’t snoring next to me, and most residents are sleeping, I listen to the rhythm of the waves, crashing against the shore. I smell the salty air from my open window, and imagine being a captain of a ship—sometimes a pirate ship to add adventure to my dreams.
Did I tell you I’m almost fifty? Thirty years a quadriplegic, more than half my life. The first half I was into extreme sports—anything most people thought I was crazy for trying. Hang-gliding, freestyle snowboarding, and my last adventure in motorcycle racing. I can’t remember the accident, but I remember hearing someone say, “His chances are fifty/ fifty,” before I opened my eyes. I never knew the family in the car I hit; they’re ghosts in my nightmare. Their lives are the guilt I live with.
Now I’m the person I never wanted to look at or be reminded of—the imperfect part of the world. Some people get that sad look in their eyes; others look away. But there are people like Maggie who jokes with me just to hear my grunt laugh and see my half-smile. That’s about all I can do. On Sundays, Maggie pushes my Geri-chair into the dining room to hear Bettina and Vern sing worship songs and read from the Bible with their Jamaican accents.
Bettina sings, “He can move the mountains…my God is mighty to save…He is mighty to save…” Vern shakes a tambourine, as the other residents attempt to sing along. I wish I could clap to the beat of my heart during those songs. Though I don’t move, so much moves within me. Warm tingling sensations zip through my body and remind me of racing. I love listening to Bettina’s soft voice as she reads God’s promise: “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30.
I wonder if Bettina knows about my life before here when she talks about God’s forgiveness. She says He can forgive us even in our final hour like the thief on the cross. “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Luke 23:43.
I close my eyes and imagine that day.
She asks if anyone wants to be sure about their future in these end times. “Will you be ready to meet Jesus when He returns? He is knocking…do you hear him? He wants to come into your life.”
I want to say yes, but I can’t raise my hand; I nod and wait to make eye contact with her. Her face glows with a wide smile as she notices me nodding. She doesn’t ask what my religious affiliation is or if I want to convert; she just prays…prays with power. “He wants to enter your broken body and heal your spirit. Just blink yes.”
And like a thief in the night…
The trumpet blares louder than the world. I turn my head toward the window to see the clouds churning like red velvet cake batter. The sky ripples as all the colors swirl together.
In a twinkling of an eye…
I run into the arms of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My view is changed for eternity.
“in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52
Song: “Mighty to Save” written by Reuben Morgan & Ben Fielding / Hillsong Church
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