My Near Death Experience

tmb_3387_480I recently purchased a Pit Barrel Cooker. We invited some friends over yesterday so I could try it out on them. It did not disappoint. The meat was so delicious that I just inhaled it, literally, I lodged a piece of meat in my airway.

I have been known to have a panic attack or two in my day. Anxiety and Hypochondria are no strangers to me. Which is why what happened yesterday was so odd. I felt the piece of meat get stuck. I tried to clear it out. Then I really tried to clear it out. It wasn’t going anywhere. Yet, I didn’t panic. I simply turned to the person next to me, made the international sign for choking individuals, and stood up to be administered to. After three heaves into my diaphragm from expertly placed fists, the meat flew out of my throat and landed back on my plate. I thanked him, and we proceeded to enjoy our meal.

I’ve wondered about this ever since. Why didn’t I panic when I realized I couldn’t breathe on my own? Why wasn’t I freaking out that the Heimlich Maneuver was only a theory to me and not something I personally knew actually worked? Why wasn’t I convinced this was the end, like every time I board a plane? The answer? James Noonan.

Just under a year ago I met James for the first time. We became fast friends, and we’ve basically adopted his family as Illinois cousins. We do most things together. James got me into cycling, triathlons, and  Chicago. I’ve personally witnessed that everything James touches turns to gold. Only James Noonan can clog a toilet at an Airbnb rental and end up eating lunch with the founders of the startup. Only James Noonan can win front row tickets to “Hamilton” on broadway. It’s not all luck either, he is smart and talented. He was the first law student to actually win a case while in law school. He’s also deeply spiritual. I’ve been up with him multiple times through the night, watching him minister to young people in serious trouble. Bottom line, I didn’t panic because if anybody could save my life, James Noonan could. And he did. It was a Pit Barrel miracle.

As I took part in the Lord’s Supper today, I thought about all of this. It suddenly occurred to me that this could be something of a metaphor. My faith in Jesus Christ works something like this experience. Life can be great, and life can be hard. The truth is there are some things we are stuck in, we simply lack the ability to get ourselves unstuck. We need a Savior.

Yet many people panic. They make things worse. They trust in themselves to fix what they can’t on their own. They don’t have confidence in the ability of the Son of God to save them because they don’t know Him. They haven’t seen that everything He’s a part of is successful. But I have. I have found that because I consistently spend time with the Savior in personal prayer, personal scripture study, and personal efforts to help others, I know Him. I have confidence in His abilities. I have seen that everything He touches lives. I turned to Him when my mom died. I have turned to Him as I fall short as a husband and a father. I turn to Him in my efforts to change and become better. It’s no surprise to me when miracles occur because I know that He is a God of miracles.

It would be great if everyone had a James Noonan in their life.

It is eternally essential that everyone has Jesus Christ in their life.