It’s me. Bob.
I know! Right? Freaky that I’d write to you from the future!
No, I don’t have a TARDIS for traveling through time. It’s just that the community at The High Calling decided to write to our younger selves to give you some advice as you grow up.
I’m writing you while I’m in my mid-50s. Yep. You made it past half a century!
But you nearly didn’t.
In 2006, you will nearly die. You will have a severe tear of your ascending aorta and you will be rushed to the hospital where they will do surgery for 12 hours to attempt to fix it. You know Jack Tripper on “Three’s Company”? That actor, John Ritter, will die of the same thing (aortic dissection) in 2003. Once the aorta ruptured, he was a goner.
While your surgery was somewhat successful, your prognosis will only get worse. You see, after that long brutal open-heart surgery, your lungs will shut down. You will develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. As the Mayo Clinic reports, “Many people who develop ARDS don’t survive.” You will be in an induced coma for four weeks.
Yes, you will survive the ARDS. And you will get out of the hospital after seven weeks. And then you will begin cardiac rehab, thinking that the worst has passed.
But then you will be life-flighted to the Cleveland Clinic when an aneurysm is discovered near where the first dissection occurred. You will have to undergo two (yes 2!) open-heart surgeries in one year!
Sorry to break all this bad news to you.
But I wanted you to know some things in light of this.
Know that 17 years before this, you will have become a follower of Jesus Christ and that He will be very tangibly with you, giving comfort and courage and hope as you went through all this.
Know that you will meet a wonderful woman in church and will marry her and that she will be a major source of strength and comfort.
Know that she will do this even though she had just recently been betrayed by you and that it will beher faith that will give her the strength to love and serve in this difficult time.Know that you will have three young kids who will have almost lost their daddy.
Know that you will be working for a ministry organization that will go above and beyond what was expected to serve you and your family while you were out for a whole year recovering.
Know that your extended family and friends will be there for you and your family and that their love is what will sustain you in many of those hard days.
Know that even people you will have met from around the world – not personally, but through discussions written on your computer through what will be called “blogging” – will be praying for you and your family. (Oh yea, by the way, the internet will be awesome – you’ll like it. In 1990, when Cisco Systems goes public, invest in them – trust me).
But I also want you to know that you should never take this life for granted. When you become a Christian, some people will be telling you that the main benefit is that you will get to heaven when you die.
That is all well and good, but I want to tell you: Live fully in the here and now.
Pursue the development of relationships. Enjoy the time you have with friends.
Seek opportunities to serve people and to bless people. Find out what it will take to bring flourishing to the lives of those around you. Be a crusader against injustice. Do not overcome evil with evil.
Chase after your callings. Chase after the Caller. Listen to the voice of the Caller.
The life that God wants for you is not off in some distant future and place – it is in the here and now. God wants to bring his kingdom and will into this world as it is in heaven. Right now. So, enjoy! Get on with it!
And Bob – always seek to have integrity in every aspect of life. Never betray your loved ones. Always put them first above your own selfishness. They are the most important part of this life you will have. Treasure your wife and kids.