Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fresh Air

Tomorrow is Father's Day here in the States, and this one is going to be an unusual one for me, in that it will be the first one without my father, since he passed away several months ago.

In his case, the last days of his life were a struggle to get "fresh air", as he suffered from pneumonia. This wasn't his first bout with it, and in fact, a year earlier he was hospitalized with it. The first time, however, he looked to be in very rough shape and I didn't think he was going to make it through.

He did, of course, but I used that time in the hospital and subsequent weeks to witness to him about the many things God has done for me and others around me. You see, I was never quite sure where my Dad stood on matters of faith, and although I knew he attended church off and on during his life, it was mostly off during the last few decades. Sure, we had discussions about God, the Bible, and the different things going on in various churches in the area, but I was never completely sure where he stood and with the onset of his illness I suddenly felt a sense of urgency. Only God knew his heart, however.

His second time with pneumonia was different, though. He actually didn't look all that ill and on the last night I was able to talk to him, we discussed many things, including current events and efforts to build a new temple in Jerusalem. There was a great sense of peace about him, too. Towards the end of my visit, one of the last phrases he said was "I'm just down, but I'm not out."

A day later his blood oxygen levels dropped dramatically and a day after that he was gone.

The takeaway message from all this is that it is vitally important to witness to others about what God has done for you in your life, even if it is in a small or subtle way. We really don't know when our last day will come, or when we will take our last breath of fresh air, or when that last day will be for others around us.

So many times, too, I have seen witnessing opportunities with friends, co-workers, and strangers that never came around again. Sometimes I did a decent job of witnessing, and in other instances, I fell short of the mark. Like any skill, however, I am learning, and learning to recognize that with some people, you may only have one shot at witnessing to them.

In Job 12:10 it states, "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." Make every moment count. Seek out ways to share what the Lord has done. It's not all that difficult and it might change someone's life. After all, the next time you see a particular friend, relative, or stranger, it could very well be the last.

This entry is a part of the Christian Writer's Blog Chain for the topic "Fresh Air". Please take the time to visit the other sites listed to the right. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Mike, please accept my condolences on your father's passing. I haven't lost a parent yet, but I have witnessed the passing of several aunts in recent years, and I know how hard their leaving was on my cousins. The last one passed a month or so ago, and because we knew of her relationship with Jesus, we were assured she'll be waiting for us when we make that crossing, but the separation still hurts.

    Excellent take on our topic. Welcome to the blog chain gang. :)

  2. So sorry to hear about your dad, but I'm glad you were able to spend time with him at the end. My father died after an emergency operation at the age of 59. I tried to talk to him but couldn't get the words out through my tears. He died that night. Thanks for sharing your story and for joining the blog chain.

  3. Michael, I'm so sorry for your loss. I haven't had to experience this in my life yet, but I can imagine how difficult it must be. Thank you for sharing, and for the reminder. As you said, we never do truly know when that last time will be and we don't want to miss any opportunity. A wonderful post! Thank you for being a part of the blog chain!

  4. Life is so short and we never know what the next day will bring. We really do need to make the the most of every opportunity, especially when it comes to telling others about our faith. Sharing with family can be the toughest of all, too. Thank you for this heart felt and personal post

  5. Michael, good advice and always inspiring to read a touching story such as yours. Thank you for sharing and Be Great !!!

  6. @tracibonney and Sheila: Thanks for the kind words...and sorry for your loss(es)...

    @Sarah: Thanks...hopefully I can be part of many more blog chain posts. This has been great to read others' takes on a single topic. I really had no idea what I was going to write until late last night.

    @Tracy Krauss: Thanks for stopping by! It is intriguing how so many of us can struggle with our own families, especially in the areas of sharing our faith. I'm not sure why that is...

    @chris: Thanks for the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

  7. Michael, I am so sorry for your loss. Both my parents are gone. My dad died on my birthday in '96. I miss him more this year than I have in a while, for some reason. Wonderful post! Blessings to you!

  8. Michael-Thank you for sharing your struggle and triumph with us. It was a beautiful message of love and courage. I believe you both found peace-your father with the Lord and you knowing he's there. I pray blessing for you during this period-and you will always remember the time you had with joy!

  9. Thanks for the comments/condolences!

  10. Michael, thanks for sharing so personally in your post. I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your father. You offer a worthy reminder to us all. It reminds me of a song by Kutless "It's like me" which shares a similar message.