I thank God for sparing my life.

This past Sunday, November 4, 2018, could have been the end of my life. At about 3 p.m., Susan and I returned from Branson, Missouri, where we had attended the Missouri District Ministers’ Retreat and enjoyed some leisure time with Susan’s son, David, and his daughter, Averie. They were on a dad and daughter trip for her fourteenth birthday.

After we drove into the garage, Susan went on into the house. I retrieved a package from our front porch and began the process of carrying our luggage and hanging clothes into our home. As I reached near the top of the steps, with clothing in my left hand and the package in my right, I suddenly realized something was wrong. Without time to fully comprehend what was happening, I fell backwards down the steps, striking the back of my head on the concrete floor of the garage.

Usually, when we get home from a trip, Susan goes into the house and readies it for our return. For some reason – and we now know why – she didn’t do that this time. Instead, she returned quickly to the garage. She saw me there, lying on the floor, my head next to the left front tire on our car. She was sure I was dead.

Other than my initial sense of disorientation, I remember nothing about the fall. I awoke to see Susan standing over me. She said something, and I responded.

Panic stricken, Susan rushed back into the house to find her phone. As she returned to the garage, her hands were shaking so badly she could hardly dial 911. She saw the blood streaming from the back of my head, forming what looked to her like two “rivers.” The 911 operater was able to calm her to give our address and to advise her on how to use clean cloths to try to stem the blood flow.

The ambulance, with three EMTs or paramedics, arrived in about twelve minutes. For fear that I might have broken my neck, they placed it in a collar. Soon, I was on a stretcher being transported to the emergency room at Saint Joseph’s hospital in St. Charles, Missouri. The personnel on the ambulance called ahead to inform the hospital about my arrival, what had happened to me, and my current condition.

The emergency room staff was ready for me. I was taken immediately into a room where  I was attached to various medical instruments and visited by a nurse and doctor. Susan had followed the ambulance in our car, and in a very short time our pastor, Mitchell Bland, Susan’s daughter and son-in-law, Michael and Becky Christman, Susan’s granddaughter and her husband, Ashley and Shaq Lester, and our friends, Terry and Julia Gunn, arrived. A neighborhood pastor, Tom Trimble, also arrived soon, laying his hands on me and praying. A member of Pastor Trimble’s church was visiting another patient; he also came to see me.

The hospital staff performed various tests, including CT cervical spine and CT head, and XR chest. There was the possibility that I could have broken my neck or have experienced internal injuries to my head. Neither was the case.

The wound in the back of my head required six stitches. After giving me all the time I needed to see if I felt like trying to walk, a nurse helped me up and saw that I was able to rise and walk a few steps. I was dismissed, then, and Susan drove me home.

It was around 9 p.m. when we got home. Michael, Becky, Shaq and Ashley were waiting for us. They had cleaned the blood from the garage floor, they helped me into the house, and they prayed for me before leaving.

I am so grateful to God for sparing my life. I realize falls like this can be fatal. If not fatal, they can result in broken bones, paralysis, and a number of other life-threatening or permanently disabling injuries. I am dealing with some dizziness, but that’s it. Dizziness is to be expected.

I cannot fully express my gratitude to God, for His mercies . . . to Susan, for her loving care . . . to first responders, for their willingness to devote themselves to rescuing people they don’t know . . .  to medical personnel, who spend years in training to qualify for the demands they constantly face . . .  to family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ for their unconditional love and spiritual support.

I turned seventy-two years of age on October 29, just a few days before my injury. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of salvation and for each day of life You have given me.

I am a teacher, so I won’t resist offering some advice: