Averted Tragedies From the Parkway to Bono to Blocked Arteries

It could have something to do with leaving for our trip to Vietnam/Cambodia, it could also have to do with meeting with our life insurance agent, but I’ve been thinking about our mortality a bit lately.  To be honest, it has not been that depressing, probably because no one I am thinking about died.  Here’s some more of the context.
For the past 3 years I have been commuting two hours each Tuesday night to Biblical Seminary (which is near Philadelphia).  I have always enjoyed that drive.  My mind stimulated from the class discussion, conversations with fellow cohorters pinballing around in my head, thinking about the next day’s youth group lesson and some other spiritual moments have led me to think that I am going to miss this time.  However, in the back of my mind, there was always a concern for that late night drive.  And as my last night of class approached, I could not shake the paranoia or the irony of crashing on the very last night of class.  It reminded me of a song about a solider that was going to return home to his fiance but had been killed on the last day of fighting.
It was raining as I headed to school that afternoon.  Listening to music, podcasts, and making phone calls has been the norm and it was during the Relevant Podcast that this Acura cut me off.  He did not realize that traffic was stopping in front of us so almost immediately, he braked.  I swerved to the lane he came from (without a chance to check my blind spot) to avoid him.  Pennsylvania drivers.
Returning home there was a similar moment.  Caffeinated, listening to the White Stripes, and feeling pretty alert, a truck up ahead in a slower lane swerved and applied his breaks – a deer emerged and was debating whether or not to cross in front of me.  I applied the breaks and waited to see what the deer would do before swerving.  Clearly he too was from Pennsvlvania because he could not make up his mind.  When he finally did, he decided to cross over to the center median and so I swerved to the right and kept an eye for his fellow cohorters. I prayerfully pulled into my driveway (I get very religious when I almost wreck), collected my things, and got inside – all was well.
Two days later, news was released that Bono was injured in a rehearsal in Germany.  Recovering from his emergency spinal surgery that fellow U2 fans dodged a bullet.  I know, I know, I heard and read all the jokes regarding it was ego that led to his back giving out and though the surgery to his spine was successful, they were unable to remove his sunglasses. To you I speak this curse to you – May your iPod only play American Idol playlists.  Sorry, sometimes my anger gets the best of me.  This post was considerably longer because of all the Bono thoughts.  I’ll save them for another day but for a few days, and as dramatic as this sounds, it got me thinking a lot about Bono.
Then later that week, a middle-aged man in our church was rushed into emergency surgery after collapsing earlier at work.  It turned out that three major arteries in his heart were blocked and it was an incredible story that nothing worse happened.  It was after his news and meeting with our life insurance agent that I had a hard time not thinking about death.
It could have been a really bad week for me, my church, even U2 fans, and many others.  I know for many people, it probably still was a bad week.  Someone did not avoid the car in front of them or the deer that crossed their lane late at night. For some, emergency surgery was not successful and some are speaking to their life insurance agents for different reasons.  Indeed, this is part of the tragedy of the world we live in but I have always been grateful for the hope in the midst of it all.
I know this is a bit heavy for a blog post and like most people, I don’t admit to thinking about death as often as I actually do.   Maybe I shouldn’t avoid that and maybe we should talk more about death outside of funerals and times of grieving.  In any case, it’s times like these that I cannot help but think of the crucial role that faith in Jesus plays in my life.  Tomorrow I have resolved to not live in paranoia of any lurking shadows of death.  Tomorrow,  I will try not to ignore the daily office prayers that my phone alerts me of.  And tomorrow, I’ll aim to be more faithful with the opportunities I have with my family, friends and the strangers around me.

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