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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Near Death Experience, Again

I tried to post this via e-mail twice, so it may show up again and again:

For the past few nights I have found myself awake at 4 a.m., usually because of body aches and cramps in my legs. There hasn't been much I can do for this except take Tylenol and pray the Rosary. Our Lady's Beads continue to be a powerful sedative for me.

All this 'down' time has given me a lot of time to think. I don't consider this time as idle time because I really don't have much energy to goof off. So I have been busy contemplating just what happened to me on Sunday, and putting into context with the previous 42 years of my life.

It has struck me, that once again, my life was spared. There are lots of minor examples of this, like times I ran stop signs, or fell asleep on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or witnessed crashes on the freeway. But there are now three times when I have been made acutely aware that, but for the grace of God, I would not be sitting here in this chair tapping away at my little PDA's keyboard. One of the three occasions happened in the 70's, when my oldest brother and I were kept from riding our bikes right into the field of fire of a sniper who was shooting people in the street. The next was in the 90's, when a helicopter I was to fly in crashed the day before I was scheduled to fly in it. All three crewmembers died from the rapid deceleration of striking the ground at high velocity. See my post for December 1, 2007 for more thoughts on this incident.

And now, I realize that if I had not told my wife to take me to the emergency room on Sunday when I did, I would have suffered either a stroke or a heart attack. Both of these would have had terrible consequences not only for me, but also for my family.

Along with the realization that my life has been spared, I realized that in all three instances I had some measure of free will to save myself. I could have ignored the advice of a stranger and ride up the hill into shooting range of the sniper. I did not have to moonlight as a doctor on a helicopter, with all the risks that accompany flying. And on Sunday, I was granted, before I would have collapsed, the freedom to put in motion the steps necessary to save my own life.

It is terrifying to think how much God respects me as a man, when He allows me to have the freedom to decide my own fate. But of course He allows us the freedom to sin or practice virtue, to go to Heaven or to Hell, every day of our lives.

All this thinking about being spared and free will have ended up with the question, 'So what are you going to do about this, this instance where you were spared?' My mind keeps on coming back to this question. Such a tremendous blessing from God demands a response from His creature.

I do not know what to do right now, but I will have Lent coming up here next week to use as a time for contemplation. I plan on spending more time in prayer and discernment, with the goal of asking Our Lord what more He asks of me.

Some things I will NOT be doing:

I won't run off and become an environmentalist wacko.

I won't take up yoga, or any other quasi-religious behavior.

I won't grow a beard - tried that a few years ago, looked like five o'clock shadow after six weeks.

I won't join Al Gore in any endeavor.

The easiest solution to doing the will of God would be to ask my wife, the woman who knows me the best and loves me the most, what she would want me to change in my life. Until wifeofdadwithnoisykids wakes up, I will keep asking Our Lady(another woman who knows me the best and loves me the most) to help me with this question.


Mac McLernon said...

Thank God for your continued sojourn in this vale of tears... we would have missed you! You'll have to hang on a bit before you get to enjoy your eternal reward!!

Roman Sacristan said...

Welcome to the club. As you know, I had a similar encounter a couple of years ago. It certainly makes you think a lot about the "bigger picture" of life.

semperficatholic said...

When you awake in the night, transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying: " Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love You, and to keep You company with all the angels."

St. John Vianney

therese said...

I've been catching up on my favorite blog reading today and have just read all your news. I will add you to my Rosary intentions tonight for a quick and full recovery.

I had thought of having Mass said for you, but couldn't figure out how to say it's for "dadwithnoisykids." : )

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
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Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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