I could have died yesterday…Great way to start a story, right? Very dramatic, but also true. If you think about it, any one of us could have died yesterday, whether from a massive stroke, a car wreck or, as in my case, a simple trip-and-fall incident. “Stuff” happens, and that is when you are glad you have an insurance policy. I’ll get back to that later…
Not long ago I’m helping my better half move some furniture. She has a home staging business, so it is not uncommon for me, or her family and friends, to help move home decor from time to time. We all know the risk in helping is usually just the possibility of sore muscles the next day, certainly not the risk of death or serious injury.
So here’s the story: I was carrying a heavy, awkwardly shaped table out the front door to the borrowed-for-the-day pickup truck. For some unknown reason, the builder of the house included a booby-trap 3-inch-high step to the landing at the front door. Pavers of the same color as the sidewalk camouflage this step. Immediately to the left of the sidewalk is a 2-foot-high concrete block decorative retaining wall for the planter in front of the house.
You probably already know where this is headed. Sure enough, I did not see the step as I was leaving the house carrying the table on my right side, and I stepped onto 3 inches of “air.” Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but carrying the heavy table, and not being a kid anymore, I could have been stepping off the edge of the Grand Canyon the way my body was flung to the left into—you guessed it—the 2-foot-high concrete wall.
The left side of my rib cage became the perfect target area for the sharp edge of the blocks. Anyone who has ever watched a football game has seen the “hit to the ribs” delivered by a defensive back to the wide receiver stretched out reaching to catch a ball. Now I haven’t played football since Pop Warner, and I never was a wide receiver, but I now know how those guys must feel.
I lay there stunned and literally could not breathe for what seemed like several minutes. I am sure it was probably really only a minute or so, but I am not kidding when I say I could not breathe. Funny thing when you cannot breathe, you really, really want to!
Of course my better half comes over and says those oh-so-helpful words in that moment: “Can you breathe?!?” OK, I know, I know, I probably would have said the same thing, or maybe the other classic, “Are you hurt?” For the record, my answers in this case were “No” and “Yes.” As I was lying there for those 60 seconds, it did cross my mind that I might really be hurt, and what if I can’t breathe for something like five or 10 minutes. That would be, as they say in the medical field, Not Good.
Since you are reading this story, you already got the spoiler alert that I was, in fact, able to start breathing again. That was, in medical terms, a Good Thing. After a few minutes I could be helped up and, since I was not bleeding and no bones were protruding, just like in football, I walked it off. Five minutes after that, we were back to loading furniture.
We had two vehicles, and as I was driving the truck back to our storage unit, my mind started to wander as my ribs really started to ache. What if that wall was just a little farther out and, instead of my ribs, I took that blow to the side of my head. There is no doubt in my mind if that were the case, I would not be writing this story, and I might not have written anything again—ever. I could have “checked out” then and there, not doing anything stupid or reckless; It would have been “like being hit by a bus”—here one moment and gone the next.
It got me musing about the concept of mortality and our “purpose” in life. In the book 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, author Wayne Dyer states that when we die we cannot not take any of our possessions with us. What we leave behind is our life’s work. He says, “You’ll find yourself feeling purposeful if you can find a way to always be in the service of others.”
Pablo Picasso was quoted as saying,
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Many people know the famous quote from Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
I certainly agree with Wayne, Pablo, and Winston. And I want to add what I call “The Round World Concept,” which I define as doing good things for others and it will come back to you multiplied. We all want to be remembered for the good deeds we did, the “random acts of kindness,” and being there for another person.
Many like-minded people are taking action by joining a service club, volunteering, or just lending a helping hand to another person. In a way, these service acts are like premiums paid into the Universe’s insurance policy. When we are down, there will be someone or something there to pick us up. Perhaps the policy even goes so far as a Higher Power metaphorically assuring that a “wall” you hit one day may certainly get your attention, but will leave nothing more serious than a bruise to the ribs.
Perhaps everyone should start conducting a Universe insurance policy check-up. In the process, don’t just think about acts of service. Get active and do something for a friend or, better yet, a stranger or, even better, your community. Consider one more quote from John Burroughs: “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.”
Be the person who does good deeds for others. Humanity will be better because of your efforts, and the Universe may just find a way to insure that when you need it, you’re covered as well.
Scott Allen has a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College, with training in the social sciences. He is an entrepreneur, writer, artist and father of three magnificent sons. He is also a practitioner of New Thought and his dedication to “ARKs” (Acts of Random Kindness) was documented in a television news segment. He is a charter member of The Burg Exchange Club and was Co-Chairperson of the Toss Out Hunger fundraising Committee benefiting local children in need. A contributing author and columnist to multiple publications, he can be reached at email@example.com.
This article is a chapter from the book Transform Your Life! written by 60 real-life heroes and experts and available at Amazon.com, BN.com, www.Transformation-Publishing.com and all ebook formats.