Monday, June 29, 2009

near death and an assurance of Peace

In the summer of 2004 I had an experience that is now a “place” I can return to, and a reminder of God’s Assurance of His Peace. My wife, Patti, and I had just finished an early morning run together. All three of our adult children were home at the time, asleep. Patti and I were walking and “cooling down” when I mentioned that I felt a headache and dizziness. As we approached our home, I felt the need to sit down to keep from passing out. Sit down I did, on the front porch, laid back and drifted into unconsciousness! Patti became terrified, yelling for the kids to call 911, as she checked my breathing and pulse, shallow and impalpable, respectively. She eventually roused our children, and the oldest, Kyle, took charge of the situation. Paramedics arrived and began their work, I “awoke” to a startling scene , but was physically incapable of responding to it any meaningful way. The paramedics placed “lines” in my arms, started some fluids and medicines, and got me into the ambulance. We left for the hospital leaving my wife and children behind, frightened and unsure of what was happening to Dad.

The “ride” in that ambulance was eerily similar to one I had as an eight year old Cub Scout who had just had his head crushed in a rock slide. In both rides I was not afraid, (quite a thing for an anxious person like me.) Anyway, on the adult ride (after having become a “believer” years earlier), I began to calmly “talk” to God, while all the busyness and chatter of paramedics trying to stabilize me was going on around me. I can still vividly recall feeling a total Peace as I expressed my heart to God for my loved ones, while submitting to His Will, even it if meant “my time had come.” It was one of those “out of body” things that remain hard to describe, but definitely Peaceful. My only concern was the grief and loss that my family would bear if I were to die.

Eventually, I spent four days in the hospital undergoing numerous tests. They were never able to discover what had happened! There were no signs of damage to my heart or brain?! That can be frustrating and frightening for most people, not knowing if it can or will happen again. Patti was concerned that I may have had an aneurism burst in my brain or a stroke? However, I have personally decided that it was my God being rather dramatic in “getting my attention.” The experience has resulted in; a renewed personal will to love and serve others, an ever deepening relationship with my wife and kids, and a deeper knowledge of the beautiful but still mysterious Relationship at the center of the universe that I choose to call “Father”. My desire is that others would know Him and His Peace as well.

Only by Grace, pat
P.S. Hindsight allows us to "see" God's hand on our lives in the past, even when we "denied" Him ourselves. My personal trials; divorce, deep depression, my father's suicide, numerous surgeries, walking with my wife and children through their struggles, are similar to those we all experience in life. The difference now is that I can see God "working for the good" in and through those trials . . . trials that He turns to Gold. He remains my Hope and my Refuge, as well as my JOY and the One to Whom I give all praise and thanksgiving.

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