And Now, For Something Completely Depressing
No, really. If you’re emotionally unstable, or have any problem with the thought of death or someone dying, do not read any further. Also, if you’re a minor, don’t read any further. Really. I had a tough day today.
Today, I watched a man die.
You’d think that a guy in the Air Force, in Monterey, California, far away from Oakland or any other war zone, wouldn’t see a lot of that sort of thing. Like, ever. But people die, and tonight I saw it happen.
It was the first time I’ve seen that happen to a living person. You hear all of the things about how it’s terrible to see, and how it sticks with you…after. You hear people saying that dying is just another part of living; that when the time comes, there’s nothing you can do but go with grace.
There is not a single graceful thing about it. It’s brutal, or at least looks that way. It is a human soul being torn from its body with a silent violence that you can only see in the other person’s eyes — and that, in the instant before their eyes go dark. I think it would be better if there were a battle going on around us…instead of that deafening silence.
I didn’t know this man. I mean, he was a food server at the dining facility — I barely ever saw the guy. And now, I can’t stop thinking about him. You see, I’ve been here for 120 days, at two-thirty tomorrow morning. The most I’ve ever said to him was “potatoes and gravy, please.” Most haunting of all, though, is what I didn’t say to him.
I never, not one time, told him about Jesus.
And now, I’m afraid. I’m really scared that I may have condemned that man to burn forever in flames fanned by the wrath of an almighty God. I know I didn’t kill him in this life. But I may have been an accessory to the murder of his soul.
So tomorrow, I’m going to talk to my chain of command about setting up a system of getting Airmen like me CPR certified. I’m going to offer to run the program, if they’ll let me; this guy died, surrounded by the top 1% of IQs in America. There is absolutely no reason, no excuse, for none of us to be CPR certified. But tonight, I’m going to beg God to forgive me for watching a man die twice, and allowing him to be utterly unprepared. I know he already forgave me…but at the moment, I’m not quite up to forgiving myself.
God be merciful to me, a man who was too lazy to tell a dying man that there was such a thing as mercy.