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Going from near death to full life

It’s been more than two dozen years but the night is still vivid.

I was driving home from West Memphis, Arkansas to Florence, Alabama for Christmas holidays. At dusk, I began to feel sick. I knew something was wrong.

Finally pulling into a gas station, I felt nauseous and headed to the bathroom on the side of the building. Once inside, I was sick and I don’t know how many times I passed out. I just kept waking up on the cold tile.

Somehow I was able to leave the bathroom and I stumbled inside the door where people began making fun of me for being drunk.

A lady chastised them and told the man behind the register to call an ambulance. I sat down out front and people continued to come in laughing at me.

When the paramedics arrived, they instantly diagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning because of my behavior and my pink, reddish skin. Being disoriented, I was unsure and almost accidentally refused their service.

Thankfully I was able to make the right decision to seek help. When they gave me oxygen on the way to the hospital it was an amazing feeling. My doctor stayed and watched over me at Colonial Manor Hospital.

I don’t know how close to death I came or how it even happened. But it was terrifying.

The lack of empathy from the folks around me was astounding. Thank the Lord one woman had the good heart to be an advocate for me. She may have saved my life and I’ll always be grateful.

It took me a long time to recover from that night and the terrible memories are still with me. A few years later I went to Freed-Hardeman University and that lead to a career in preaching.

Six years ago, Fibromyalgia attacked me and I lost the ability to walk and most of the strength and dexterity in my limbs. In a few years, my full-time preaching career was over. Yet, I wasn’t ready to give up.

Thankfully a small, mountain congregation of wonderful brethren at the Hawk Pride Church of Christ gave me the opportunity to continue to preach in a limited way.

The irony is that their building is just a couple of miles from the very spot where carbon monoxide nearly ended my life and where mocking replaced helping.

The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. We never know where he will take us in this life but if we place ourselves in his hands and cooperate along the way, amazing things can happen.

He’s the potter and we’re the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Praise be to his glory.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

One thought on “Going from near death to full life

  1. Brother Mansel, imagine my delight as I read your article today on passing from near death to life, following your path in a very real sense. You see, I was born and reared in the Shoals area, my sister has worshiped at Hawk Pride all her adult life, and my husband, Jim Massey, preached and taught Bible classes there. I have been very homesick, but today I had a visit home! Thank you!

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