This is how I imagine it all played out:
Doctors and nurses swirled about, checking monitors, pressures, beats, and breaths.
But he was fading.
Shock one, shock two… Nothing. Breathless. Pulseless.
And in the interim, a spirit was lifted up, being called by those who’d gone before him. Against their warning, he looked back on all those he’d leave behind. Saw us there, just outside the CAT scan room, huddled together, praying, tears lining the rims of our eyes and staining the apples of our cheeks, now grown pale in preparation and fear of what was to come.
And he pushed forward.
And what laid ahead of him was far more glorious than any of us could imagine or will imagine. I do not know the words to describe his heaven; I only know that it will likely exceed my expectations when it is my time.
But I CAN imagine his excitement in reuniting with his father, lost to him when only a young boy. Oh the years they’d have to make up; the things they’d finally get a chance to share! And his best friend, Dan. The laughs they would share of the last few years spent on Earth, in body. Would Dan prepare him and introduce him to this new life? Would he serve as a guide?
I imagine he felt uncertainty. Scared. Afraid of what he might miss back in his earthly body.
He pushed forward.
He did not look back. Not this time.
This time, I think, he was ready to answer The Call.
I have no frequent flier miles. In fact, it was only last year when I’d first been on an airplane. One year later, I boarded another, headed for a conference in Silicon Valley. The difference this time: I’d board my initial flight and a connecting flight alone.
Big Girl Panty Stuff.
And scared outta my damned mind.
All the what ifs began to circulate in my head. What if the plane’s delayed? What if I miss the bus that takes me to my next gate? What if my flight’s cancelled? Worse: what if it crashes?
In preparation for the latter, I informed my sister of my documented beneficiaries, and I told my mom of the one specific thing I’d like buried with me had God chosen it was my time. And then…
I pushed forward.
I got on that plane. I got on that bus. I got on that connecting flight. And another.
I could’ve chickened out. I could’ve allowed the guilt I’d felt in leaving my pet family at home prevent me from going. I could’ve allowed the fears for me from my family who loves me prevent me from going.
But I pushed forward. I faced my fear and I had faith that what would lie on the other side would prove to be worth it.
And oh how it was!
The conference was largely successful. And having it located in Santa Clara, CA, was certainly a perk! I was in the heart of Silicon Valley! I saw Google! I saw Apple!!! Just an hour northward transplanted me to San Francisco where I saw (and walked across!) The Golden Gate Bridge.
Perhaps this is no big deal for most humans, but for someone who also has a fear of bridges, it’s a pretty big fuckin deal! I ate at the Fog City Diner; drank amazing cocktails; ate the best French Toast that’s ever passed my lips! And the icing on the cake of it all? I spent those five amazing days in California with someone who is exceptionally important to me.
I pushed forward.
Ever watch a plane take off? I studied them while taxiing the runway, awaiting my flight’s ascent. Those big birds wait at the starting point. When given the okay, and just at the right time, that bird speeds forward, faster and faster, gaining momentum as it accelerates to launch. And then she
PUSHES herself off of the ground, and with all her might, she soars off into and above the clouds.
She does not look back.
She is not afraid.
He did not turn back.
And neither will I.
Friends: PUSH yourselves forward. Do not be afraid. Have FAITH that what lies ahead is your calling, or what will lead to your calling.
It is beautiful, here on the other side of fear.