The first time I came close to dying was when I was about four. It’s my earliest memory. I was at my grandparents’ home and apparently I had been given a balloon to play with. It popped. Unbeknownst to either grandparent, I had stretched a torn piece of the balloon across the front of my mouth. Apparently I sucked in the balloon piece, and it ended up lodged at the top of my throat, blocking my airway.
I ran to my grandmother who was standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes. Unable to speak, I pointed to my open mouth. I’m sure I looked terrified. “Luther!” my grandmother screamed, summoning my grandfather. Although I have no recollection of what happened next, I’m told that Grandpa reached into my mouth and pulled out the shred of balloon. (Note to parents: Seriously, a balloon is not a safe toy for young children. According to studies, more children have choked on balloons and pieces of broken balloons than any other type of toy.)
The second time I cheated death was Christmas Eve the year I was 20. I skidded on wet gravel and slammed my small car sideways into the stone abutments of a one-lane bridge. The car was demolished, but I walked away without a scratch.
Finally, when I was around 29 and driving to work in a GMC Jimmy (a mid-sized 4×4), another driver raced over a hill at 50+ mph. He ran a red light and hit me broadside at the driver’s door. Miraculously, once again I was unhurt. The police officer in charge told me, “Miss, had you been in a regular car, you would be dead now.” The height of the Jimmy had provided me life-saving inches.
When my grandsons were around 10 and 13, I shared these same stories with them. When I finished, my younger grandson Brandon piped up, “Wow, Grammy! God must have saved you for something special.”
Yes, in December when we watch Jimmy Stewart playing George Bailey in the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life, we may give a fleeting thought to the impact our individual lives have on our family and friends. But I’m going to encourage you to think about your impact every day.
We may not always feel that we’re making any “for the greater good” difference in the world, but each person reading this has his/her own individual positive aspects that affect those around us.
Even if I don’t know you, what I do know is that God has saved YOU for something special too. Make the most of that gift!
To my readers: Share a story about a life-changing moment that has prompted you to look at life differently.