Near Death

Truck Accident

Roughly one hour ago I was crossing Post Road in Mamaroneck, N.Y., walking from Dunkin’ Donuts to my daughter’s ballet class. I was carrying Emmett, my 3-year-old son, in my arms. The road was perfectly clear—nobody coming from either direction. Roughly 10 steps into our trek, a woman started pulling her car out of a parking lot. She was driving fast, and awkwardly turning into the oncoming lane—directly toward us. I screamed, “HEY! HEY! HEY!” but she kept coming. Finally, maybe four or five feet away from us, she slammed on her breaks. Had she not, Emmett and I would likely be dead right now.

To say I’m shaken would be an understatement. I immediately thought of the police calling my wife, telling her her husband and son are dead. Then, I thought of something else …

Over the past few days, I’ve been obsessed with time—and not in a good way. Time moves so fast. My kids are growing up so quickly. They’ll be in their 20s and 30s before I know it. I’ll be 70 … 80 … 90. Oy, oy, oy. The thoughts consume me, to the point where I’m strangled by the hands of a ticking clock. It’s remarkably un-enjoyable and, as my wife notes, wasteful. What worse way could there possibly be to utilize time … than thinking about time?

Anyhow, perhaps today was a sign. A wake-up call. I’m not saying God or Jesus or Allah or Yinka Dare sent this woman’s vehicle toward my body. But maybe I needed this to happen. Maybe, sometimes, we all need this to happen.

In a sense, counting time makes no sense, because it’s impossible to actually mark the hours and minutes of your life. Had I died today, my time measurements would have been meaningless. If, somehow, I live to 150, they’d be equally meaningless.

Life is life. I’ll live, I’ll die.

So I better start living.

32 thoughts on “Near Death”

  1. You know, I think you actually do live.
    So many people live their lives doing nothing.
    This week you went to a movie with your kids. Never mind the quality of the movie, it was the quality of being with your kids.
    You have a job that takes you places, sure you might miss home but you experience other cultures, foods, and people.
    You get out and around.
    I spent 25 years on the road. Wasn’t too bad as I only worked about 200 days out of the year and spent time with my kids.
    Once I spent the night in Elko, NV, (1986).
    I sat at the bar to eat and watch a game.
    The lady next to me shoved all her tip change into video poker.
    I struck up a conversation. She was raised in Elko, married and divorced. She knew every guy in Elko and wasn’t interested in any of them. She had only been out of Elko once, for a day.
    She knew she was never going to leave.
    I understand Elko had a boom, so I can only hope that poor woman found some happiness.
    Bottom line is, she didn’t have a life and there are too many people in this world like her.

    Time does end. The wise do seek God.
    Maybe you aren’t ready for that yet.
    Maybe you are.

  2. As someone with the condition myself, it sounds like you may have a mild case of OCD. Generally, it’s something a lot of people have and most people can live with; in fact the disorder can actually help you be productive with work and whatnot. But if it’s causing you to lose sleep at night or be counterproductive, you may want to look into some alternative measures. They certainly helped me out!

    I hope I’m not being out of line with my amateur psychoanalysis, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this blog, it’s that very few things are off limits. Hopefully this wasn’t one of them.

  3. Glad you are both okay, mostly. Did the woman say anything afterward?

    I used to think about the past a lot, and what I should have done, or should have said, and in some respects, I still think about it too much. However, I realized fairly recently that I have so much to look forward to: my daughters growing up, graduating, getting married if they so choose. I don’t look forward to growing old but I do look forward to growing old with my wife. I plan on playing softball as long as I can unless I start to embarrass myself on the field. I’ll be 40 in about 18 months and still not sure how that’s possible, but I know I have a lot more livin’ to do (to paraphrase Elvis).

  4. Jeff:
    While you may not have liked those last three lines, the truth is, for someone that doesn’t think too much of God you sure do think about him a lot.

  5. Some would say try to proselytize someone who is post-trauma, well, that’s more good intentions than being nice.

    You know the saying about good intentions.

    Glad you and your young son are OK, Jeff. I have a lot of old school friends who are raising families and I don’t know how they manage.

  6. Jeff,
    Short answer – The Bible.
    More Depth – God’s relationship with his people is a biblical marriage.
    For instance the bible describes Gods relationship with believers as a marriage in which the believers are the bride.
    Earlier in the bible God severs his relationship with Judah and Israel because they commit adultery. He uses the terms “her,” “sister” and “harlot”.

    Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

    God is also often called the Father.

    And Jeff, no bads there. I am not a sensitive angry person. I get your joke.
    It does give me an excuse the throw some scripture your way.
    Why is that important?
    Another verse.

    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  7. Dave,
    Maybe I’m dense but I felt zero feeling of belittlement.
    Jeff knows nothing about God. Doesn’t bother me to answer questions.

    1. jmw, with all due respect, what an ridiculously un-Christ-like bit of arroagnce. “Jeff knows nothing about God?” How do you know, and what makes you so certain you know God? Have you read the Torah? The Qur’an?

  8. If you knew ANYTHING about God you would now you would need to respect him.

    Before I became Christian I read and searched many alternative beliefs.
    I was a firm believer in reincarnation.
    I did read the Bhagavad Gita.
    As I read various teachings I found that most had at least part of the support and basis from the bible or bible quotes.
    I haven’t studied the Torah but I believe it is essentially the first 5 books of the Bible.
    Did you know that?
    The Qur’an is difficult (some say impossible) to translate into other languages. Seems to me if God was going to reveal information to the world he would make it a bit more available.
    The Qur’an does include many of the same stories as the bible does although somewhat altered.
    I felt most, including Jews and Muslims, seemed to either base their religion on at least part of the bible or they quote the bible.
    With that thought in mind, I felt truth would be found in the bible. I had gone from Atheist to a God believer, I just had no idea what was true.

    My methodology, bypass the middle man. I went right to God. My prayer was something like:
    God, I want to know what is true. I don’t know if Jesus is a fake, a wise man, or you. I don’t know if this book is accurate, or partially accurate, but I do believe truth can be found here. I trust on you. Please show me truth.

    I got a KJV at the used book store, no red letters. I never looked at the notes. I did not go to any church. I read from the NT in the morning, psalms or proverbs at noon, and OT in the evening.
    I bounced around, I don’t remember the exact order but in my NT it might have gone – James, Matthew, Acts, etc.

    As I read it was amazing how my readings often lined up. What I read in the NT connected to the OT in ways it never would have been able to do if I had followed some persons plan. I feel it was God’s plan that these passages lined up as they did.
    Still my belief in reincarnation was so strong I held on to the possibility of it for a good 5-7 years.
    By approaching God for truth you can find truth.
    It is God that gives us the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
    If you don’t seek Him he is not going to give you understanding.

    1. jmw, the arrogance is just so appalling. across the world there are, quite literally, millions of people saying the exact same things about their faiths; holding the exact, identical convictions that they are on the righteous path—the sole righteous path. They are duplicates of you, only with a different set of moral beliefs. And yet, despite this, you claim to know for a 100% fact that your religious is the righteous one; that you understand God’s word and the others-again, millions of them—do not.

      Gimme a break.

  9. jmw:

    Er, you realize that the Gospel writers were writing to prove Jesus was the messiah, yes? And part of doing so was to line up their tales with prophecies in the OT, yes? So, yeah, that was the plan: the plan of the authors of the Gospels. Especially one of them who was writing in particular to a Jewish audience (Luke, IIRC).

  10. Jeff, glad you are OK, between this story & the flooding Starbucks toilet you’re living your own, personal “The Hurt Locker”.
    Please keep your head up, I want to read alot more from you in the future.

  11. FrankD,
    Where did you ever get that idea?
    That would have to be the most amazingly crafted conspiracy in the Universe.
    In fact it would have to be crafted by someone with as much knowledge and foresight as God.
    To understand the symbology of certain passages that weren’t understood at the time and create those same symbological images in the NT would certainly be the work of an incredible mind.

  12. Jeff, I don’t claim to have perfect knowledge.
    Once upon a time what you just said would have come from my own lips.
    I understand your viewpoint.
    In fact it was that viewpoint that lead me to believe reincarnation was the way.

    There is one HUGE difference with what I believe to be truth and what most others claim to be truth.
    Every other religious system, that I know of, requires you to do something to get yourself right with God.
    What I believe is, we are entirely at God’s mercy.
    You can plead forgiveness but there is no guarantee you’ll get it. Fortunately God is merciful.
    Please understand, there are many claiming Christ, that will tell you if you do this or that you will become saved.
    I don’t agree with that.

    I believe salvation is 100% dependent on the mercy of God.

  13. Jeff, I know you think I’m guessing.
    You simply can’t understand why I believe as I do.
    Not your fault. Not your experience.
    In a similar manner I can’t understand what it is like to give birth. Experience means a lot.
    When someone becomes born again they are literally changed.
    The bible uses terms such as new creature, born again, etc.
    What the bible explains is God dwells within the believer.

    1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

    When A&E sinned the spirit of God died in man. Man is considered spiritually dead.
    We are only saved when that spirit is resurrected.
    Unless that has happened to you, you cannot understand what it means.
    You can’t understand why it is not a guess.

  14. Enough already. Trying to have a rational discussion with a scripture-quoting “saved” individual is an impossibility. Their faith excludes any chance of them being wrong or of accepting the slightest possibility that someone with different beliefs could be right. “Unless that has happened to you, you cannot understand what it means.” Such arrogance…such certitude…such nonsense.

  15. Actually Ted I have been wrong lots of times.
    I was an Agnostic – I was wrong
    I was an Atheist – I was wrong
    I was a New Age Reincarnationist – I was wrong
    I was a salvation by choice Christian – I was wrong
    I was wrong about a lot of things, but I was right in never quitting my search for truth. Being open to the possibility I might be wrong, and looking to God for guidance is the most right thing I have ever done.

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