This day after one of the world’s wisest men, Nelson Mandella, has passed from the scene, is a good day to reflect on what is most important. I cycle through a graveyard daily; there is nothing like the reality of death to put life into perspective. My sister Jennifer recently had an opportunity to speak about her near death experience a year ago.  I would like to share her wise reflections:

Live fully and love deeply and just slow down

How many times have you been asked, “are you ready for Christmas” My usual response is to mention the list of things I would like to accomplish. This time, I thought my response should be different when someone asked me the other day. I said, I’m always ready for Christmas! My heart is full of love and thankfulness, I have life, God, friends and family. Yes I’m ready for Christmas for sure! Life, love and hope are the best gifts and the rest is all secondary! But…it took a huge shake-up, a very traumatic, near death experience for me to really …I mean really change my focus not only of Christmas but on life and love.

My story starts off with me getting ready for work and walking (or likely running) out the door to catch my bus. I thankfully have no memory of the accident but it’s important to note that the morning of my accident (according to video footage from a camera in a shop on the corner) I had not taken the time I usually do to press the pedestrian button…. I was likely in a rush….Apparently the light was green as I crossed, but turned red just as I came to the curb on the opposite side of Portage and this is when a truck came from behind traffic and didn’t see me (likely in a rush) before it was too late and threw me across the intersection. The reason I tell you this is that I want you to remember it is never ever worth it too rush. I know we do a lot of that in life and especially at Christmas time..Time already goes by so fast, especially in our fast paced, high pressure world. A few seconds of rushing almost cost me my life.. Just slow down.

In a matter of moments my life and my family’s  turned upside down. I went from a fully functioning person to clinging onto life itself from massive haemorrhaging due to the rupture of my IVC..the biggest vein in the body. Intubated and unconcious for 6 days in SICU,   in hospital for 3 more weeks and virtually immobile due to a crushed pelvis for almost 4 months…and our long battle of recovery and strengthening still continues. BUT Thank God for miracles- I’m alive and I am so blessed and I am surrounded by love! Cory and the kids have been amazing, I have fallen deeper in love with them and our family pulled together and  became stronger. Also  My relationships with other family members and friends flourished in a time when I when had no choice but to slow down.

Many days I forget my blessings and choose to focus on all that ails me both mentally and physically rather than on Jesus.  My fear and guilt and the loss of my control and identity crippled me more than anything else for a very long time…But praise God He always pulls me out of my pit and helps me yet again to look up and out. And I need to do this over and over!

C.S. Lewis says, “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way”

I have learned I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Also to be thankful in all circumstances, to love myself and others better, and to prioritize better. Now that I can do more and am on a return to work program and have to balance more with my time… I need to remind myself more often to live slowly, love deeply, and be prayerfully aware of what I am doing with my God given time.

In closing, I want to share these verses that one of my children had placed in our bedroom for when I came home from the hospital that have been a great encouragement and focus for me from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Please learn from my story…

Nancy Simms says, “Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.”