Life Is but a Breath
by Stephen Kimball

Blue sky and sunshine had filled the morning but if there is one thing that can be counted on in the Florida Summer, it's afternoon thunderstorms.

The backyard was filled with guests. The yard looked more like a field, a large open space surrounded by a wooden privacy fence. Dark clouds converged over us without much warning and the wind began picking up. You could almost taste the rain in the air. As the drops began to fall, the crowd began to move as one, taking cover from the eminent deluge that we had hoped would avoid us on this day. Out of nowhere, a flash of brilliant light appeared right in front of my face. The blast was deafening - stunning. Numbness immediately invaded my whole body - and the world stood still.

I was cleaning the pool when the sky opened up, and in my hands, I held what was about a twelve foot long metal pool net. Intending to politely set the net down before running for cover myself, I turned toward the fence, moving in the opposite direction of everyone else. Inexplicably, as I attempted to place the net down, it passed right through the fence as if it wasn't real. Puzzled, I tried several more times to place the net down - each time with the same result. Turning to seek shelter, all at once, I was overwhelmed by a powerful, dizzying sensation. I was losing my bearings and my will to stay on my feet. I sensed I was falling but I never felt myself hit the ground.

At that moment, my spirit separated from my body. What was a sudden lack of orientation had quickly resolved into full awareness as I gradually began moving forward and upward. The feeling was exhilarating! It was as if I was being carried by the hand of God himself. The sky cleared, in an instant, and my gaze fell upon something way off in the distance, above me. A waterfall - like none I've ever seen before, majestic in appearance. I was clearly moving toward this beautifully strange phenomena that awaited me in the heavens when I was distracted by the voice of my father who was standing, alone, on the other side of the fence, looking out into the yard, desperately calling out my mother's name. I knew he had witnessed what had happened to me and was trying to get help. I heard his voice and was aware of his presence but I couldn't turn my head to look at him. I wanted to say goodbye and reassure him that I loved him but I was unable to speak. For an instant I felt sad but as I moved passed my father my momentum seemed to increase and I was again focused on the waterfall. My heart began to race like it was about to pound out of my chest. I was hyperventilating and every ounce of my being felt super-stimulated.

Just then, I awoke. It took some time for my body to settle down and for my mind to reorient itself. With some trepidation I cracked one eye enough that I could see a familiar glimmer of light reflecting off the dresser and it seemed I was back from the dead. I checked the clock, ("4:43am"), slid out of bed and moved over to the window. I wanted to feel my fingers on the strings that open the blinds and pull, just to be sure of my reality. The whole thing felt so real, so vivid, the physical and emotional feelings so intense for a dream. I was still staring at the clock an hour later, recounting the details in my mind. What an overwhelming experience. I've never been so eager for daylight so I could call my father and tell him how much I love him.

In our humanness we are all prone to presume upon tomorrow, until the Spirit of God jolts us back to the reality that our lives are finite and that only He knows when we will take our last breath. If there were no tomorrow; if you were to never have another opportunity, who needs to hear "I love you" from you today? Take a moment to ask God to sensitize you to your area of neglect and pray that God will stir your heart to action and give you the courage to move on His initiative. Maybe today is the day that you tear down that fence that stands between you and your spouse, your brother or your parent. Don't let "someday" be your default, for our lives are - "but a breath" (JOB 7:7) says the Word of God.

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