We know life on earth has an end.
It has for every person before us.
It will for us as well.
However, few of us live as if we're going to die.
Today God gave Don and me a gift: Don almost died.
We were out to lunch. Right before Christmas. A moment just for 'us.' Nice!
Don loves Mongolian BBQs. You know, you go through a line pressing frozen pieces of meat, fresh veggies and noodles in a bowl, drowning it w/spicy water, handing it to a guy who tosses it on a hot platter and hands it back to you ready to eat?
So far, so good.
We sit down in a booth for some quiet conversation. Don takes one bite...another...and then.....he chokes.
Coughs. Head down. Hand to mouth, then to throat. Tries to take in a breath. Doesn't succeed.
Don is in trouble.
Slow motion sets in: My thoughts vacillate between "I don't want to bother others; Don, please, stop drawing attention to yourself...to us" to, "Don, are you okay? Don? Don?" No answer, just eyes looking at me bugging out. Skin going gray. Still no breath.
The guy in the booth next to us stands up and comes over. He's big. "Do you need help?" he asks sheepishly, shyly. I put my finger up trying to communicate, "Stay right there. Don't move." He gets it. He stands, motionless.
Don tries to breath again. Nothing. Not good. Now he's down on his knees next to the booth in the isle. He's in trouble.
Unbeknown to me someone calls 911. ("Thank you, whoever you are....) Another customer, Beth, comes and offers her help. Beth is a nurse. She encourages Don to breath. Good advice...but how?
Nameless comes up. She's an EMT, offering the same advice. Again, great input...but how?
Big Guy is still standing, motionless. "Please," my voice says, "start the heimlich maneuver on my husband." "I don't know how," was his reply. "Just grab him and squeeze," my voice states. Factual. Polite...belying how I'm beginning to feel inside.
Police arrive. Still no good breath. Don is now drooling, foaming....eyes bugging out.....
Firemen arrive in their big truck. Very surreal. As they run in with a gurney and oxygen Don's body lunges, shoulders up and back, head down. His body recoils with inner force and.....out shoots an unchewed peanut. "AHHHHHHHH........" Beautiful sound of gasping for air. All is well.....
The rest is 'clean-up'....firemen taking vitals, administering oxygen, writing out a report....
Don and I lock eyes.
My thoughts go back to the conversation in the car from our home to the restaurant. It had to do with death and dying. Both of us agreed that Death is conquered through Jesus (THANK YOU!) However, dying.....well, dying...the act of leaving the body and entering Eternity....that's another thing. We both agree we want to 'go' fast...no lingering painful departure....(as if we have a choice....) .... and then 'this' happened to Don...to me...to us....
Lessons brought to our attention? Well, a few things come to mind:
1. When God says, "Come", NOTHING can keep one from going
2. When it's NOT our 'time', NOTHING can cause one to go
3. We are ALL just a breath away from our eternity....literally
4. LIVE! SAY "I love you!" HUG...often! Dance in the parking lot! Have a picnic in winter!!!
EACH MOMENT is a GIFT from GOD!!
We all have an 'expiration date'.... The Living Word says it this way, "It is appointed to all once to die.."we just don't know when.
Please, if you need to connect with Jesus, DO!
if you need to live, to love...DO!
We'll all just a breath away from Eternity.
Breathing easy in Him,