August, 2006 - Jake McDonald and I emerged from a cave in Pleasant Gap, PA in which we had descended into a hole and shimmied down into and along a 60-foot-plus deep crevice. At one point, Jake lost his footing in that crevice, slipped, and somehow caught himself. We all began to panic and frantically searched for the way back up and out of that death crevice before our limbs tired too much and sealed our fate for good.
Upon our exit, Jake looked at me and said, "I know now that God wants me alive for a reason."
Last week, Jake and I were cliff-jumping into blue-green water in a quarry we found outside of State College. Our last jump was a 60-70 footer, and a thunderstorm was rolling in, bringing down rain all around us.
Jake jumped. Made it.
Nick, my brother-in-law, jumped. Made it.
I foolishly ignored the slick mud underneath my traction-less water shoes and made a dash toward the edge of the cliff.
Went shooting straight out from that cliff edge, almost parallel with the surface of the water.
Thanks to a tree branch I grabbed, and some desperate wheeling, I landed at about a 45-degree angle. My thighs and upper back did the honor of breaking the concrete water surface for me.
All I can really remember is, crack! My vision left me, my limbs froze on me, and the only thing I could do was let myself float back to the surface. As my vision blurred back into focus and my arms decided they would help me out, I eventually struggled to a sunken boat nearby and bellied onto it, like an injured seal.
After a trip to the ER and some CAT scans, I found out there wasn't any spinal damage--just severe bruising and some nerve issues in my left arm.
I can't help but sit here and think...Man, God does want me alive for some reason.
Whether it be falling off a cliff, escaping from the crevice from hell, or dodging one too many close calls in my car, I really can't avoid the thought that something bigger is pulling some strings in my life. I'm sure all of us have a list to the floor of reasons why we could or should be dead, but that doesn't water down my argument that God wants me alive, or you alive, for some reason.
I just have no freakin' clue why.
And just yesterday, I came across this verse in Proverbs: "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?"
The more I thought about it, though, the verse does help. I really struggle with what I'm supposed to be doing, what I'm here for...I'm in constant angst about it, actually. I envision myself singing Dashboard-esque songs, letting out high cries and whines not about girls, but about my purpose and potential and what the heck life is supposed to be. But even wise guy Solomon figured out that it's not possible to figure out. Just gotta trust, really, and be patient.
Maybe you're one of those people that do have it all figured out--what you want to do, where you want to be. Besides the fact that I hate you, I'm really happy for you. But I'm not at that place.
Right now, I guess it's enough to be reminded that I really am here for something. Let's hope that something is more than just seeing how high I can bounce off water surfaces.
P.S. I can only speak for myself, but in a life-or-death moment, there is no flashing of my life before my eyes, no revelation, no vision, no light at the end of the tunnel. There is only, "Oh #@$%. This is going to hurt."