How my bargain as a child was realized
Life purpose becomes clear when coming close to death
I felt the most alive when I was fighting for my life in an ambulance in the city of Kangnung, South Korea.
I doubted I would survive. That’s when the purpose of my life became clear and I was reminded of a very old bargain I had made.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” — Epictetus Greek philosopher.
Epictetus was influenced by the teaching of philosophers such as Socrates.
His pupil, Arrian, helped him write Discourses and Enchiridion. This is a combination of Stoic dogmas with advice and admonishments.
You ask, “What does an ancient Stoic philosopher have to do with me or with being the most alive I have ever been?” It was when I collapsed at Kwandong University while teaching in the city of Kangnung, South Korea, that I felt the call of my life surge through me.
I was on my way to the University to teach. Suddenly, pain stabbed my chest. I collapsed, gasping for breath.
When the paramedics put me on a stretcher, there was no belt to hold me in. I slid back and forth on the stretcher on my way to the ambulance.
The paramedics gave me oxygen and Ventolin to open my airways. I wanted to doze off. One paramedic kept saying. “Stay awake! Don’t go to sleep!” Their voices grew more distant.
I had this strange feeling of being there, but not being there. I could feel myself dying, but I felt more peaceful than I should have been.
I was struggling to breathe, but I wasn’t terrified. I should have been, but I wasn’t.
The light I saw looked something like this.
I felt this calming presence I can’t explain tell me I would be okay. Okay? Yeah, right. I’m drifting into unconsciousness and I’m going to get through this. Sure.
Was it my subconscious mind trying to fool me I wouldn’t die? I don’t think so. I believe there was a spiritual presence helping me through this crisis.
I survived by the thinnest of margins. It was a wake-up call and a reminder of the bargain I’d made with God when I was five years old.
The call to follow my life purpose
That wake-up call in the ambulance when I was dying made me get more serious about my life. The spiritual presence in the ambulance had strongly confirmed the previous inklings I’d had about my life’s direction.
My life’s direction would involve social advocacy. I would also assist others in dealing with the damage of trauma such as abuse.
The first inkling I’d had was that prayer I made to God at age five under the willow tree by our home. I made a bargain with God: if He would rescue me from the living hell of physical and emotional abuse from my schizophrenic father, I would grow up to help those who have been the victims of abuse.
Six years later God answered that prayer and upheld His end of the bargain when the opportunity came for my mother, brother and me to escape.
The pieces of my life’s calling were finally beginning to fit together at age 37 and God let me know He expected me to uphold my end of the bargain starting now.
When I was feeling much better, I undertook graduate training in Counseling. I became a social advocate advancing disability rights through policy advisory work and appearing in the media.
Will I return to teaching? Maybe, but that’s only one of the reasons I feel I’m here.
I’m also here to help people in their inner healing journey as a chaplain, therapist, writer, singer, and songwriter.
In our society, we adults look down on children and disregard much of what they say because we think they aren’t very wise due to their youth. They are wiser than we think with a different kind of wisdom, which we have lost over the years.
They know clearly in general terms what the purpose of their lives will be. They just haven’t the words to explain it in a way we can understand.
I knew at age five that I could help those who were victims of abuse. I knew I wanted to help. Here I am at age fifty-six doing just that.
In my opinion, children are much wiser than we adults believe.