This photo was taken on January 18th 2015 at approximately 7:15am. If you don’t recognize the location, this is the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art affectionately known as the “Rocky Steps”. The relevance of the time and the date is that it was lightly raining that morning but the temperature dropped suddenly and the steps became extremely slick. About thirty seconds after I took this photo, I started my descent, slipped and fell on the steps. My upper back and pelvis both hit the points of two steps. I lay there on my back for a moment with no air in my lungs trying to decide just how hurt I was. Thirty seconds after standing on a spot of personal inspiration, I was on my back wondering if I could get up.
After peeling myself off the ground and determining that I was battered but not broken, I slowly worked my way back to my hotel. As I walked, I thought of how close I could have been to real injury. The “what if” question ran through my mind several times when finally, my thoughts rested on George Lucas. His fate was changed by a near fatal car accident. It changed his entire perspective on his life and what he was doing. Many people have near death experiences that change their lives forever.
The key to the near death experience is that it reminds us how temporary life is. We often forget for long stretches of time that in essence we’re dying. The number of tomorrows that we will get is limited. So today’s value is enhanced because we got so close to not having a tomorrow.
Rather than waiting for that experience to come, shouldn’t we just choose it instead. Choosing a life that recognizes how close death could be. What if your actions of today were what determined whether or not you got a tomorrow? How would you live? Would you have any doubts about the things that were priorities? It all becomes clear when tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.