I have three birthdays. I was born. I was born again. And then I was “born again again” (sort of).
On September 27, 1963, in beautiful Wayne, Michigan I was born (this year I learned that fifty is nifty!). I was born again (remember Jesus words to Nicodemus “you must be born again”) becoming a follower of Jesus sometime in the fall of 1975 (I don’t know the exact day). Then I was “born again again” six years ago today. I say I was “born again again” because on December 20, 2007 I could have been dead dead.
Six years ago today, while sitting at my desk in Lenexa, I experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage (I blew a head gasket, my auto mechanic friends would say). Doctors tell me that 50% of the people who have subarachnoid hemorrhages attend a funeral shortly afterwards (their own). So today is a day I will always remember– even though I really don’t remember most of what happened that day.
It’s hard to take life for granted after a “wow-my-wife-coulda-been-a-widow” type of experience. I would never want to go through it again (I now know what a Rawlings baseball feels like when Miguel Cabrera smacks a home run out of CoAmerica Park). Still it’s been an interesting journey since that day (read: chronic headaches, many doctors, medications, physical therapy, diets, 30-40 Botox injections every three months, and the writing of a book that describes the whole deal).
On the plus side, I’m closer to God than ever; I’m a better pastor; and I have a very smooth forehead.
Given everything– I would not trade the experience.
Here’s what I have learned: Life is a gift. God is good. And He has a given me this gift of life three times (probably more than three with the way I drive-but that’s a whole other story)!
So today because of my “born again again” birthday I’m turning six. I won’t have a cake with six candles on it. No one will sing “Happy Birthday to me.” I won’t get a card. But I will be immensely thankful for God’s hand that was (and is) upon me. The gift of life that I received six years ago today is the gift for which I am most thankful.
You don’t have to have a brain hemorrhage to come to the same conclusion. God never guaranteed that we would skate through life without troubles, sorrows or brain hemorrhages (in fact, he promised “in this world you will have trouble.”) We are not guaranteed a pain free, trouble free life. He made no promises about tomorrow. So take each day that you are living and breathing; take every moment that you can love and be loved– as a blessing. Treat it as a precious gift.