This is not a picture of me jumping…but it is a very accurate representation of the incredible jumps I was performing today. OK, it is very accurate except I was much, much closer to the ground. I’ve been at a pastoral retreat and after a grueling meeting this morning, as is the custom for pastors at retreats, we took a little time off this afternoon to ride some ATVs.
I hadn’t really ridden one on a course before and it was a lot of fun. The only down side of the whole afternoon was my near death experience. Did I almost die crossing the rivers? Did I almost die on the jumps? Did I almost die falling into a ditch? Did I almost die when my friend and I were racing? No, nothing so glamorous. At the end of the day, as I was turning into the driveway, I stopped for a moment. My friend, who was gunning his ATV trying to catch up, didn’t see me stop. As I watched him approach me, I had no idea what to do. He was going incredibly fast and had no intention of slowing down. In my brilliance, I was now facing him broadside. If I had died, I would have died turning into a driveway.
I had always wondered how I would face death. My secret plan had always been, if I had enough time, to get the really important things out of the way (affirm my love for God, family; encourage them to persevere) and then to utter some semi-humorous/sarcastic one-liner so that I would die laughing. Ideally, others would be able to hear the line, not perish with me, and have a good time talking about it at the funeral. Potential last words, obviously dependent upon the circumstances were: “In retrospect, that could have worked out better.”; “Now do you believe me?”/ “OK, you’re right. Satisfied?”; “Duck!”; “I sure did waste a lot of time wearing sunscreen.”; etc.
Well, good and bad news. First, the bad news is I found out my brain doesn’t work that well under pressure. I was unable to scream out a good one-liner. But the good news is that I was laughing pretty hard as he approached me. He saw me at the last moment and veered hard right. I can’t really convey in words how close we came to having a terrible accident. I was laughing because we had such a close escape and because it seemed so terribly funny.
So, when I die I probably won’t have time to say something dry, but at least I’ll be laughing on the inside.