Lance Patton posted this on Facebook, and we think it is worth the share. Just a reminder to live every minute like it’s your last…and not everybody gets a second chance…
Two years ago today, April 2, 2017, the day my life changed forever. It was opening weekend of turkey season, a weekend I look forward to all year. But something was wrong, terribly wrong, with me. I left the house finally and killed a turkey, but rushed back home. I knew I had to get to a doctor, soon. Taking the advice from several local physicians, I ended up at St Thomas. I went through the ER to speed things along.
After several tests, three doctors came in the room together, with solemn faces. They’d found a very large mass on my colon. Without offering any options other than keeping me comfortable, one asked if he could pray with us. I said yes, but I don’t remember the prayer. I left mentally for a bit, trying to understand what they had just told me. When the one praying finished, I asked, “so i’m dying? and there’s nothing that can be done?” The one that had prayed over us said, “it appears very serious, we may be focusing on just keeping you comfortable…”
So naturally I didn’t take this very well. I’m thinking, “i’m 35 years old, I have a wife, a baby girl, a new house, my whole life ahead of me. I can’t die! What will they do?” But one of the older doctors finally spoke up, interrupting the tears, and said, “all hope is not lost, son.” Well, I can tell you right now, that all of mine was.
You can’t explain the feelings you have about dying to someone who’s never been told they’re dying. But one thing happened for me that I feel happens for most, your world gets very small, very quick.
I spent the rest of the day alone with my wife in a hospital room and that’s all I wanted at the time, other than having my, then 3 year old, daughter with me, but she didn’t need to see me or my wife like we were. We were blubbering messes. Not really speaking, just processing and praying, when a young surgeon walked in that night out of the darkness. He asked how I was doing, I told him I was dying. He said, “you know, I think we can fix this. I think we can fix you, and you’re going to be just fine.”
Naturally after the day I’d had, my wife and I were speechless, and very confused. He said, “I don’t need those tests tomorrow to tell me what I already know is going on here. I’m scheduling you for surgery three days from now, and I think I can fix you.” And you know, he did. He removed a softball sized cancerous tumor and somehow, someway, by the grace of our Lord, it hadn’t spread after all. One day I was handed death, and three days later I was handed life. The irony of the numbers, three doctors, three days, are not lost on me. Some have asked, what did you pray for? How do you deal with knowing you were dying?
Well, back to my world getting small, quickly, I prayed that the Lord take care of my little family. That’s all I could think about. I actually tried to bargain with Him to let me see my little girl grow up, but there’s no bargaining for life. You can only prepare for death. And that’s my hope for anyone reading this. I can assure you, that tomorrow doesn’t exist yet, only the present. We assume the sun will rise tomorrow, but it hasn’t yet, and there is no guarantee it ever will.
If you haven’t invested in your eternity, and there is one, please don’t wait. It will only go one of two ways after this life. Seek Christ, redeem yourself, and invest in your eternity. I wasn’t living my best life before this event. I’d strayed. My faith was weak, but I was renewed, and am trying to live my best life. I had a wakeup call. I’m very fortunate, and thankful for that wakeup call. Many don’t get one that is so clear, so I hope this story will serve as one to you.
Sorry this was so long.
The pic is from the tom I killed the last week of the ’17 season after being cleared by my surgeon to shoot a gun. Though I’d killed many, many before it, this was the first turkey of the rest of my life.