I felt exhilarated from running so fast. It had been years since I had gone full-bore like that. It was a cool, crisp morning and the sun had just peaked over the horizon. My lungs burned from the cold air that was invading them.
It was one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had.
And then something woke me up.
As I stirred into consciousness it only took me a second or two to realize I was in a medical crisis.
My heart was chugging along at a horrific speed, and it was skipping a lot of beats to try to keep up with the demand. I was short of breath, and instantly terrified. I stumbled out of bed and out my bedroom door to see if anyone was home. My son, Zach, came out of his room at the same time and knew immediately that I was in trouble.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“I think I’m having a heart attack…“
Saying those words sent a shiver through me. It was surreal. And waiting for that ambulance was the longest 7 minutes I’ve ever had to endure.
My wife had walked to work that morning. My daughters were at school. I hadn’t seen my older kids in Atlanta in two years. I had no chance to tell them goodbye. Was this the end of my time here? My life’s purpose and accomplishments felt so incomplete in that moment. I still had so much to do.
I’ve attached a great amount of importance on accomplishing things for the kingdom of God, in doing God’s work. And as I contemplated my life in those fleeting moments that day I wondered how badly I had failed to accomplish the things God had put me in this world to do. But one thing stood out more than anything else that crossed my mind during that frightening ordeal. I haven’t loved others enough. I haven’t loved my neighbors nearly enough.
I’m happy to report that I was diagnosed with a very treatable condition. I was only in the hospital for 24 hours, and with the help of some simple meds, I’m healthy as a horse again.
But I didn’t come away from this experience unchanged. I believe the Lord wanted this condition out in the open so it could be dealt with accordingly. But I also believe it was a wake up call for me.
Don’t waste a minute of your lives. I won’t waste another minute of mine.
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:13, 14