“The length of our lives is decided beforehand – the number of months we will live. You have settled it, and it can’t be changed.” (Job 14:5)
I’ve often wondered if the length of our lives is predetermined, that no matter what we do, we all have a fixed longevity. I say this because of the number of times I’ve seen people live, who by all means, should have passed away far sooner by their own actions. My father being the first.
He attempted suicide a number of times starting when I was at the age of 8, when he drank an entire bottle of vodka in the middle of the apple orchard down the street in freezing temperatures that sent him into a coma with an enormously high blood alcohol content, where doctors felt he wasn’t going to survive, yet he did. Another attempt years later was in the dead of winter, when he swam far out into the Long Island sound until his body froze up, with no hope of getting back to the shore, when suddenly bright lights surrounded him beneath the icy surface, warming him and pushing him back to safety. Ultimately, his death didn’t come till many, many years later, and although his passing was in the end due to suicide, he did get to see me graduate from high school, get sober from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, come out of the closet (of which he was the first to unconditionally love and accept me with), and even change his will where he left my sister and I money that ended up helping us both during some very difficult times.
I also had a friend once who attempted to take his life three times in a very short period, each in of itself should have done him in. The first one involving many pills and booze where he was rescued in the 11thhour. The second was when he connected a tube from his exhaust into his car behind an abandoned supermarket late one night in an area that no one ever went, that is until that evening when a police officer felt an urge to drive behind that old store only to find him just in time before it was too late. And the final one involved a gun that for whatever the reason didn’t go off when he pulled the trigger, even though it was fully loaded. This man is still alive today, got to see his son graduate from high school and college, and is in a much better place overall now.
And lastly, there’s me who’s also survived a number of times in situations that quite honestly, I’m surprised I lived through. Like the guys who were going to kill me with saw-off shotguns back when I was drug dealing in my early 20’s, but decided to spare me because I had so much jewelry on that was worth a small fortune, jewelry that I almost didn’t put on that evening when going out, yet something within told me to. Or the countless times I drove heavily intoxicated or high, always narrowly avoiding one accident after another, or the many random encounters I had with highly unstable and closeted individuals for anonymous sex. And I can’t ever forget my own attempt at suicide in 2011 when I started my car in the storage unit it was in, solely to asphyxiate myself, where I actually tested God several hours in as I grew tired by calling the one person who had zero desire to talk to me and hadn’t for some time, and incredible as it was, he answered and knew exactly what to say to get me to safety. Ever since, I’ve been dedicating my entire life to recovery from addiction, having sponsored many people, spoken at meetings many times, and written about plenty of my experiences, strengths, and hopes in this very blog for others to benefit from.
The fact is, over the years, I’ve seen tons and tons of people survive countless overdoses, while others didn’t survive a single one. I’ve seen people miraculously walk away from accidents that should have killed them but didn’t, where other similar accidents instantly take the life of someone. And so on, and so forth. It all seems so random, but maybe it’s not? Maybe, in the end, the number of days we’re meant to be breathing on this Earth are in fact predetermined for reasons we’ll never know, reasons that are meant for God’s eyes only, that is until we take our final breath…
Dear God, I pray I make the best of the life I have, and accept that only You know when my time will be to come home. Until then, help me to glorify You in all that I say and do, and trust You truly do have a plan for each of us while we’re here.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson