SIX WORDS THAT SAVED MY LIFE
It’s a dreary Sunday afternoon. I’m 13 and for five days I’d been suffering through a severe case of pink eye. The infection was so bad no topical meds were helping and both eyes were almost swollen shut.
My Mother finally suggested that Dad call the family doctor and have him meet us for an emergency review of my condition (prior to the invention of the corner Emergency clinics). Luckily my father was a well-known politician and public servant in our town and was able to call in favors like this periodically.
The doctor and his nurse met us and I could see the shock on their faces when they saw how bad my eyes were. Right away he set me on the table and after a brief exam ordered his nurse to bring a shot of penicillin.
The whole time I see my Dad out of the corner of my eye pacing like a caged animal on the opposite side of the room. It was actually the pace he did when he was upset. I thought, “I’m in for it now. He’s not happy with me for putting him through this on his rare day off.”
The nurse returned with the syringe of penicillin. As the doctor injected me in the right arm and since I’d never had penicillin before, I felt a slight sting as the drug penetrated my skin. Then it all changed! I found it hard to breathe, my head was woozy and I had an odd taste in my mouth. As I fell back on the exam table I told the doctor I didn’t feel right. He seemed to know immediately what to do as he barked at his nurse to get another drug.
As I lay on the table, I couldn’t see my father or the doctor anymore but I could clearly hear them talking. My dad said in his take-charge voice, “What’s wrong with him? The doctor said, “penicillin reaction” as he worked to keep my airway open. Then I saw it… the tunnel. The long white tunnel I’d heard odd stories about. Funny, there was no fear about it. I was just confused as to why it was there and because I could still fully hear the outside conversations that included a very panicked announcement from the doctor….”His heart has stopped.”
Oh God, this more serious than I thought. I clearly remember thinking I’m not ready to go. Yet, I was surprised at the clarity my 13-year old brain had at this moment as I refused to go any closer to the tunnel. Even at this odd moment, there was an adult-like discernment that took me over and told me that if I went deeper, I would be gone forever as the tranquility and peacefulness beckoned me in.
I’m well aware of the cliché of my description of the tunnel that beckoned me and here is the major moment of clarity I had as this energy vortex summoned me… I had a choice to make. I really could leave this life and be in what I thought was a better place. People would be sad but this was my way out since I had not been really thrilled with the first thirteen years. Yet as tranquil, calm and seductive as the energy and light was, I hesitated.
And like sniper fire breaking the midnight silence, I heard clearly, “Oh God, don’t lose my son.”
I heard those six words very clearly but even more, I felt the fear, the pain and love in my father’s voice at that moment. Here was the tough guy who had taken anger to a high-end art form and for the first time in my young life I saw him as vulnerable.
After several shots to offset the penicillin, I was becoming more present to the surroundings especially the redness in my father’s eyes. In that moment I knew in spite of his tough tactics, constant criticisms and his “my way or the highway” approach to child-rearing, my Father loved me and was responsible for bringing me back.
At the age of thirteen, my review of this Near Death Experience was processed with minimal emotion and insight. I clearly thought I was just lucky and if God had really wanted me, I would have been gone. The irony is, I buried this experience and its deep life meanings for over 40 years. It wasn’t until I hit several massive life walls like divorce and business failures and even questioning my desire to stay on this life plane any longer that something got triggered.
At the right and appropriate moment, what came roaring back into my head, heart and soul is this Near Death Experience. The memory of the white light, the peaceful energy, and the powerful voice and words of my Father that brought me back. WOW! I get it. At that moment, I had the ultimate gifts bestowed upon me… the gifts of love and choice. The ultimate gifts that will determine the kind of life we live and the legacy we leave behind.
Do we choose to live a full-out authentic life of joy, appreciation and gratitude? Or do we choose to live a life of limitations, fear and just getting by? Do we choose to live as a giver or a taker? Do we choose to build up or tear down? Do we choose to be present and live purposely or do we choose to be asleep and live with only what stumbles into our path? Do we choose to look for solutions in any problem or do we choose to see everything as a problem with no solutions? Do we choose to live with intention or live through the lens of tolerations? Do we choose to engage with those people and situations that support our passion and give us energy or steal our passion and drain our energy? Do we choose to live in love and share that love as often as possible or do we live in hate and disdain and choose to spread that shadow?
In conclusion, I lived a portion of my life with some of this faulty thinking and it was the memory of this Near Death Experience and ultimately my Father’s love that brought me back. Also, I know now the tranquil white light and peaceful energy of the tunnel was God’s ultimate love beckoning me… if I chose it. I chose to come back because of my Father’s six words and more so because I knew there was something here for me to do. I came back for a reason. And those reasons are still unfolding which leads me to say that even though life is a series of choices, it’s never too late to make a choice on how each of us will live the remainder of this life with love.