Today, I Almost Died...

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

Today, I almost died several times.

The first time it happened I was at home doing the regular morning routine, except for the fact that I WAS RUNNING LATE! I was so sure that the world was against me that day. I couldn't get dressed, and out the door fast enough. But then, I couldn't find my car keys. The soft voice of my wife across the room told me that she hung them up for me. NO WONDER I COULDN'T FIND THEM! My temper was short, and my words were quick. I had a moment before to rein it all in, to hold it back. I felt it. I could have asked God to help me. I could've bowed a knee. I could've died right there and let Christ reign, but I didn't. My anger flared, and words flew. Hearts were hurt, and doors were slammed. I was on my way to work.

You would think that a twenty-minute commute would not incite frustration? You would think? But it does, and it did. I'd like to blame it on my lateness, but all it takes is one person driving slower than I want to go, ON A REGULAR DAY. Oh, but today I was late, and this person had to be doing this on purpose. I'm sure they can see the urgency in my face in their rearview mirror. They're just doing this to mess with me. In that moment it really didn't matter who was behind the wheel. If they could feel the hatred beaming at them through my stare, they'd burst into flames. Oh, I had a moment to be sure. A second to ponder the reasons for their pace, but would it really matter? There was that second that said, "it doesn't matter, and they've done nothing to you. Let it go. Let it die." It was that moment that I could have said, "take this sin from me." But I didn't, and I hated that person when I finally passed them, and I kept hating them all the way to work. They stayed with me as I killed them again and again with the words and thoughts in my head.

Work for me can be a place of extreme frustration, but on certain days, quiet solitude. Today was not the latter. Orders were barked, and work piled high. My bad day firmly grasped now as I have to live here for next eight hours. My temper growing ever shorter, and I snap back at everyone in my circle. Do they know who I am and what it takes to do the job I do so well? No! Because they're a lazy shiftless bunch. Pride overwhelms me even as I know deep down those thoughts aren't true. There's a moment, more than one, where I could have turned back from my vicious words and asked for peace, and for God's strength to be better. But I was so invested in this horribly, gut-wrenching day that I quickly turn from it and say I deserve better than this.

I forgot my wallet, so no lunch for me today, and it figures. I curse under my breath blaming it on anyone but me. It really is the day from hell. It keeps getting worse despite knowing a better way to handle it. Each time I begin to remind myself, this sin-sick portion of myself pulls it away from the forefront of my mind and buries it deep behind pride, pain and frustration. Another lost opportunity to die. Another lost opportunity to let Christ live.

I get home and remember how frustrated I was this morning and negative emotions begin to rise up once more, because I'm sure nothing's change. The sweet words of my spouse mean squat, because they MUST  be insincere and just meant to appease me. I could ask..., no, beg God's and my wife's forgiveness, but instead I rise up, angry, not a word said, but a door slammed. The solitude of my bedroom is no comfort for me.

I am alone for hours, no peace within. My computer in hand, looking at nothing, thinking about maybe a movie and maybe more. The mouse slides, the fingers type and even as I'm about to hit the enter key, I hear clearly, "No... Don't..." Another chance to die, to let God reign. Fingers precariously placed in a state of suspended animation as I wait to die or let flesh live on..

And I wait... Seconds feel like an eternity as my fingers come down on the enter key, as I almost die again...

Completely invested in the feeding of my flesh for the entire day, I bang my pillow hard and settle down to sleep. Bitter tears streak my face. Not encouraged for the day to come.

This was the day I almost died several times. Oh, I wish that I had.

I pray God's strength to die each day.  I pray Christ's life to be alive in me. I pray I die, that he might live.

A theological misfit landing in the area of Lutheranism, Dominick has come to deeply appreciate the truth of scripture as defined by the distinction between Law and Gospel. He has found freedom in knowing that Christ is his substitute on even his worst days. He has been for the course of his church life everything from chair-stacker to men's ministry leader. He is blessed with a wonderful wife and two great young men, which he can say without a doubt, he doesn't deserve. He counts among his favorite things: Star Trek, classic superhero comics, movies, Yankees and yes, he admits to it, the Knicks. He enjoys a good conversation and good food. Finally, he is grateful for the opportunity to share the message of God's Grace among all these great teachers, pastors and theologians and hopes he doesn't mess up big time. But then again, that's what grace is for, right?

Twitter: @adefeatedvictor