Coming out of The Grand Canyon on Wednesday, one of the first things I did was turn on the cell service which had been off for the past four days (believe it or not, there are still places on the planet where there are no coverage). One of the first things that popped up was The Ravishing Mrs. TB saying on a family chat the day before that one of her coworkers had what appeared to be a seizure and collapsed. I texted her specifically.
He was sitting in a meeting, talking with the pastoral staff, when suddenly he just collapsed. They thought it was a seizure, but no breathing, no pulse. Someone started CPR while they called the paramedics. They worked on him for 30 minutes when they arrived. His wife was able to make there while they were doing it (she drove 85 mph on streets I can assure you that is not legal on).
She was there when they called it.
It was, apparently, a cardiac arrest, not a heart attack. Something goes wrong with the body's electrical system and the heart just stops and there is nothing to restart. He was likely dead the moment he collapsed.
He was 39 years old, a writer and business man, athlete, father of two children under 12, happily married, doing good and meaningful work in the ministry.
Gone, just like that.
I knew him tangentially, as he was my wife's coworker. I had seen him at church of course, seen him in the office when I had visited my wife, heard him preach once or twice, chatted with him at a Christmas party.
The Ravishing Mrs. TB was highly upset (she was not present directly in the room, but was across the hall, called 911, and helped to direct the paramedics) and I, of course, was not even anywhere that I could have been contacted, let alone could have done something. As you can imagine, her work environment is not in great shape either - we often think death happens in the dark or at hidden hours. When it happens in broad daylight and in a place where they will have to go back to, it becomes far more challenging and difficult.
If you could pray for his wife and children (or whatever your faith system is), that would be appreciated I am sure. The unexpected death of a loved one is the hardest.
It does reinforce three things that I feel compelled even now more than ever to have express.
1) Although I usually do not push my faith, it is time to settle such a thing if you have not done so already. There are plenty of resources on line of course, and my e-mail is over on the right; happy to talk it through if at all helpful. You literally never know when it is your time.
2) The time to do things is now. There is ever only really the now; it is all that is given to us. The past is done and the future is not guaranteed.
3) There are things that all of us think about doing, but never do. We never want to take the risk, or convince ourselves that we can do it tomorrow. Someday. Just not now, you know: we need to think this through or prepare more or research more or get more resources.
The reality is that there will never be enough thinking, enough preparation, enough research, or enough resources to start something without the decision and will to start it.
Go do it. Whatever it is. Go out make an impact, swinging for the fences, always moving forward even if you are crawling up a rock slide slowly and gingerly (this, I know a little about now).
Do not wait for tomorrow. It may never come.