Clarity & Courage Gained From Almost Dying

A near-death experience changes you. It challenges your whole perspective. On September 22nd, 2019, I was blind-sighted by Sepsis, a deadly immune response to infection. I’ve never heard of it, and so I hadn’t recognized the symptoms when it struck me. As far as I know, what got me in there was an acute gastrointestinal bleed where I lost huge amounts of blood that plummeted my blood pressure to critically low levels. My vision tunneled, and I fell on the bathroom floor with numbing extremities. My plight to let someone know I needed urgent help has stretched out seconds to seemingly unending time. But the next thing I know, first responders were on the scene, and they rushed me to the emergency room.

During this life-threatening crisis, fear and faith fight over what was left of my consciousness like it was a game of tug of war. Remarkably, even though my body was in physical distress, my spirit was in a state of perfect peace. I held on to words that served as an anchor in these critical moments. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV) I repeated these words over and over, amplifying its volume and sealing its meaning in my psyche.

As the doctor and nurses surrounded me, I knew I was getting the medical attention that I needed. They put me on multiple IV lines and used pressure bags to quickly get the fluid into my system and get my blood pressure back up. My body started shivering uncontrollably with the drastic change of temperature from fluids being pushed through my veins. I also received blood transfusion and rounds of antibiotics. Everything that was taking place in that room all fade away. My subconscious takes precedence.

I had peacefully imagined what it might be like to face my Maker. Then clear images flashed in my mind. First, of my husband the very first time that I saw him. Love filled up my heart. Next, of my two young daughters, and love just overflowed. Would they remember all the happy memories we had shared together? Though it saddened me for a second, I was reassured of my belief: death is not the end – I will see my family again on the other side of eternity.

What was bitter in my soul is recognizing that I have a mission in this world — one that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish, one that remains incomplete. What is this mission? Do I even know what I’m really here to do? As these questions raced in my mind, it zapped me back to reality, and my perception of the situation shifted back to the room. My vital signs came back to normal.

Being forced to face an abrupt dead end somehow disentangles you from over-analyzing. You’re swiftly able to evaluate the roads you’ve taken, even roads you could’ve taken, and then get a glimpse of all possible outcomes. Suddenly you see clearly, even only for a millisecond. It’s an enlightening, pristine outlook that opens up your eyes to see things you do not usually see. Grab hold of the clarity and the courage under your purvue, and how to use them if you had another day.

There should be a sense of urgency in our response… To roll up our sleeves and act on our calling, or keep searching deeply. If it’s not your time to go just yet, then there is something you must still accomplish here. Discover what it is and focus your energy on accomplishing it. It could either be a big leap or a small step, but just go in a forward direction. Don’t go backward. Stop being complacent. There is no time to waste.

Do you feel like you must write? Then write your heart out.
Do you feel like you must paint? Grab your tools and get started with no holds barred.
Do you need to express yourself through photography? Exercise your good eye and capture that breathtaking, picture-perfect shot.
Do you need to spend more time with your family? Make it on time for dinner, and do it every single night.
Start that business. Finish your degree. Shift careers, or do better.

The things we really want are not lofty, unachievable things. Often, the desires of our hearts are within our reach, but we just need to commit to action.

Often, the desires of our hearts are within our reach, but we just need to commit to action.

Shiela Bernardo

You and I have the power to create something good, even out of a bad experience. You can create your new beginning or create a better ending. Even today, go create memories that are worth cherishing. You simply must. You have a Savior that gives you purpose, who created you to be part of a bigger story. He preserves your life, and you just can’t keep living the same way.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

James 4:14 ESV

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