Nine Lives

Nine Lives

At ten I can’t recall when I chased the ball if I looked both ways
But the screeching brakes and yelling woman will not go away

At twelve for fun I climbed to the top of pines to sway in the breeze
Ending when I fell one time from bough to bough without injuries

At sixteen achieving speed on my bicycle was in my bloodstream
I had my hand up but when she hit me she did not hear me scream

At eighteen overnight ice fishing was a test of a man’s endurance
Under ice I found blackness is betrayed by the moon iridescence

At twenty seven the river bottom dropped off, my waders filled
To pull me under, yet slowly pulled them off as the water chilled

At thirty two I bravely went over a waterfall in a two man canoe
The whirlpool did not think much of me and soon sent me through

At thirty seven bacteria quickly consumed my oxygen hungrily
Yes, I saw light and looked down upon myself to see my rosary

At forty three a loose pebble jammed my bicycles front calipers
Twisting and flying all I remember, awakening a last adventure

At fifty I died a different death, a haunting lasting death to self
This pain of recognizing others needs greater than anything felt

At fifty three it’s a daily death, as nighttime calls each day end
Gods peace settles in refreshing me for tomorrows resurrection

I have felt the closeness of my own near death far more times than I would like to remember.  They are all frightening experiences that occasionally flash back and bring me to the reality that I am still here. None however is so haunting when I died a death to self.  It took until I was fifty years old for me to realize that I was not as important to myself as I was to the people around me. This was not a sudden death, it had been brewing for a while. Like my near death experiences I had briefly tasted immersion in the community of others.  Death to self happens daily now as I accumulate my thoughts and reflect on my day. My closing thought is that tomorrow God lets me try to be a better man all over again.  I cannot explain it but I am at peace and sound asleep in a matter of seconds.

For further reflection: Romans 6