Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Really Live, You Must Almost Die.......

I first called on M___ eight years ago.  He was the production manager of a large corrugated manufacturer, and I was the sales rep for a manufacturer of high speed corrugated equipment.  For several years, I only knew M___ on a business level.

One day, however, we decided to have lunch together.  Over our chicken salad and soup, I began get to know him on a more personal note.

M___ told me he was a marathoner---you know, one of those individuals who runs all the time and competes in 26-mile races several times a year. 

Well, of course, this fascinated me.  I asked him all about it.  He told me he rolls out of bed every morning at 4:30 and runs 10 miles.  Rain or shine, frost or ice, it didn't matter---he WAS going running.

I asked him how long he had been training like this.  He told me that 10 years ago, he was involved in a terrible car accident.  He suffered two broken legs, a broken back, and crushed chest.  The docs said he probably would not walk again---and if he did, it would be with great effort and pain.  They also told him he was lucky just to be alive.

In his hospital bed over the next few months, M___ began to realize how he had been wasting his life.  He was overweight.  He didn't feel good most of the time.  He was a smoker.  He also realized he didn't like himself very much.

Slowly, M___ became convinced that God had used that terrible car accident to speak to him about his life.  M___ told me he began to see that he had been living a bare shadow of the life that God had intended for him.  He vowed to stop smoking.  He promised himself and God that he would do all that he could to come out of the severe invalid state he was in and become physically and spiritually strong.

He said it was very, very difficult as he tried to walk, and then run over the next weeks, months and years.  But, every morning, rain or shine, he would struggle to rise from bed at an early hour and attempt to train.

At first it was all he could do to just walk.  The pain was terrible.  But, as he persisted, the pain began to moderate.  He tried to run a few steps, and slowly he was able to build a little distance.  He said he never ever considered stopping his training, no matter how bad the pain or how discouraged he sometimes felt.  He pressed on; and, as months began to evolve into years, his ironclad routine began to show phenomenal results.

He said when he became free of pain, it was like the world was opened up to him.  He decided to try to run one marathon.  He entered as a contestant, not sure whether he could finish.  He did.  His many friends and family were there to cheer him on.

Then came another marathon, and another and another.  By now, M___ was a picture of perfect health---a physical specimen, lean and glowing, looking much, much younger than his 45 years. 

As we walked to the car to go back to work, he said as an aside that the accident and near death experience was the best thing that ever happened to him.  He said it is a shame that, to really experience life at its fullest, he had to almost die.

I can't tell you what an inspiration his story is to me.


  1. Amen. It is amazing how much we just don't get it. So glad he shared and his story and then you did too. Thanks!

  2. How often do we hear those who have had near death experiences becoming life changing events. This is a good post, something to think about.

  3. amazing. his tenacity and turnaround is impressive.

  4. very inspiring, clint. thanks for sharing!

  5. With every challenge there is relief. Thanks for sharing Clint.

  6. Thank you sooo much for sharing Clint, and yes great great inspration!


  7. Clint this man is phenomenal, a man I'd love to connect with! I too have had a very near death experience in 2005, the specialists told my family to prepare, they didn't think I was going to make it. Since then I can 100% relate to M, I had to almost die to really start living.

    I know the pain and agony of learning to crawl, then walk and finally be able to run. I don't run any marathons, I exercise my brain through education and almost 6 years later I'm one year away from a degree... a far cry to where I once was. Today I find gratitude in almost all that I do, I have choices in life and I decide if I want to be happy or upset and life's way more fun being happy!

    How inspirational M is, it's people just like him that give me hope and courage to continue on with this journey and I WILL get this degree... if M can run marathons, I can do this one more year! :-)

    Thank you for sharing this, I needed some inspiration right about now!

  8. Thanks for sharing this inspirational story,


  9. Beautiful story! I have not had the near death experience that M had, but I am in a very low place spiritually, physically, emotionally right now. This is quite possibly just what I needed to get myself up and back on track!

  10. Thanks for sharing...yes, sometimes something special must happen to change things in your life.

    Have a beautiful day, take care and greetings

  11. Your friend is amazing. I am so happy for him.
    It is a shame some people have to go through terrible things to appreciate the great gift of life in this world we have. Life is great. Good post. Congrats M---. B

  12. Fantastic entry, Clint. I have not had a near-death experience, but have had to deal with a slow return from major back surgery 8 yrs. ago. It is amazing how we turn to God then, when He is there for us ALL the time. Thanks so much for sharing your friends experience and the growth you too have experienced. Continued health to you and your family.

  13. Just a wonderful story Clint. It is true that often we have to understand our mortality before we learn to live.
    Super post.
    Arkansas Patti

  14. very good post-maybe you could put a word in for me--to God tell him I am of need of intervention

  15. Judy---I will, indeed, pray for you. God bless.

  16. Great post! Really made me think. Reminds me of what Jesus said about how, when we lose our life, we find it. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I am very moved by this post. It is fascinating how a person applies the force after such an accident.
    Greetings Sabine

  18. Hi Clint -

    Thank you for sharing this great and successful story of determination.