Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Door Knob, London, England

I was spending my first night in ICU after a serious heart attack when a senior nurse walked into my room during the "graveyard shift". We entered into a short conversation as she checked my vital signs. After just a few minutes, she looked up and said, "You're a Christian, aren't you"? I incredulously said "Yes" and remarked that since we had just met, I didn't believe I had told her that. She then volunteered that she too was a Christian and held the hope of an eternal spiritual life after this temporary mortal one. After spending many years in ICU on the "graveyard shift" which she preferred, the calmness of spirit or the shear fright of death was very apparent to her in her patients.

We don’t need to dwell on death, as our creator gave us life to live to the fullest. Yet, we shouldn’t be blind to the elephant in the room either and we need to contemplate our common destiny more often than we probably do spend thinking about it. I received the following short explanation of death recently which prompted me to recall my brief conversation with the senior nurse above:

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I’m afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don't know.”

“You don't know?
You're, a Christian man, and don't know what's on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door.
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and eagerly leaped up to him.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog?
He's never been in this room before.
He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here.
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death.
But I do know one thing... I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

I remember reading years ago about a famous painting illustrating a prominent closed door with Jesus standing outside knocking. The subtle focal point of the painting was that the door did not have a door knob on the outside—we’ve all been created with the free will to invite him into our hearts. But it’s becoming a bit late when we’re lying behind a door in ICU, as that door may never be opened.

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