A Very Close Call
A Very Close Call
By Ned Wicker
During group discussions we have often talked about spiritual experiences. Everybody is different, so people have different ideas about what a spiritual experience even is, from perhaps sensing something is happening, to that overwhelming feeling that they are in a very special moment. We hear so many stories. But the one that “Sam” shared with us had everybody in the room leaning forward with amazement.
Sam is in his early 30s and had a cocaine habit for some time. He never expected the drastic consequences that befell him recently, and according to his telling of the events, he didn’t even know anything happened until he woke up in the Emergency Department. He was with friends and everybody was partaking in the coke, which they had done many times before, only this time something went wrong with Sam. “I have no idea what happened, I just kind of blacked out I guess.” What happened what his heart started to fail. He had a heart attack. With everybody in the room high at the time it’s amazing any of them had the presence of mind to call 911, and even more amazing that things weren’t a whole lot worse. But the rescue squad got there and got him to the ED “just in time,” as he put it.
The ED team got him stabilized and he was scheduled to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. He woke up and observed all of the activity going on around him. He was told what happened and he just lay there in disbelief. “I started to think about how careless I have been with my life. I guess a close call does that. I guess God didn’t want me to die. Then I started to think about how careful God was to not let me die.”
Sam said he always used cocaine because he felt so good when he was high. He was not an everyday user, but he did use frequently. He had no idea about any lingering effects of cocaine with prolonged use, but he learned in the hospital that damage had been done to his heart and that he needed to make changes. “I didn’t know what was going to take the place of cocaine, because I really loved the high.” As Sam reflected on what had just happened, he began to appreciate just being alive and realized that something beyond him had pulled him through. He appreciated the professionalism and the quick work of EMTs, nurses and doctors. But from what the doctor told him, he knew he could very well have died, adding “Thank God we didn’t lose you.”
Life is so frail, so fleeting. How do we experience a spiritual moment? What is our understanding of the Almighty? There are some who will die denying God. He does not exist. Anyone who believes in God is a fool. They, like everyone else, may believe what they want to believe. For me, God is so very present, so close. And for Sam, that day in the ED, God became very, very real.
How does Sam understand God? “I just felt loved.”
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