I had decided not to take a shower that night. I was exhausted. Plus, I was fairly certain that I could handle just getting up in the morning to take one and still manage to get to church on time.
Hmmm. There was something in my eye. I moved to the mirror. See it. Remove the lash, and step away.
I drop to the floor.
I grew up in Chicago. South side. And while my neighborhood wasn’t a “war zone” (as often depicted), and we didn’t hear them often (usually around New Year’s Eve), I was still familiar with the sound of gun shots. And, I knew what to do when I heard them.
You drop to the floor.
Momma had always said “Bullets don’t have names. They don’t know that you aren’t the target.”
“Nay! Did a bullet just come thru the window?”
“That was a bullet!”
“We are on the second floor. The second floor!? A bullet???”
Then it dawned on me.
I fell to the ground in tears, overwhelmed with gratitude when the realization came.
I marked the trajectory of the bullet.
If I were taking a shower. It would have hit me.
There. Where I was standing, the space I just left, righttherebythemirror.
There. The bullet. Lodged in the wall. Right.There.
“I was just there.”
I fell to my knees and prayed.
As I shared the story with a few people the next day, I had a David moment. You know David, the king of Israel, the leader of God’s people, the man portrayed as the calm, reserved, harp playing, psalm writing shepherd. That David. David was so excited about bringing the ark of the Covenant (representing God’s presence) to Jerusalem after he established himself as king, that the Bible says he freely danced in a linen ephod (i.e. not in his kingly garb).
I did not dance…but when you realize that God’s hand spares you. When you grasp that what could’ve happened – didn’t. When you understand that a moment’s decision spared you pain (at the least), and spared your life (at most), a timid little “Thank you” simply isn’t sufficient.
Tears streaming, hands raised, jump and shout it to the rooftops “God, thank you….thank you…thank you!!! I know that I am here for a reason. You did this for a reason. You did this. My life is yours. Whereever you want me to go. Whatever you want me to do. Show me. I am yours.”
Within a year. I moved.
That dodged bullet revealed a deep-seated desire of my heart. I wanted to serve Him, serve His people. I loved teaching. But I had determined that was for my Bigma and her friends. Serving God, being committed to Him, reading the Bible, praying continually, and being serious about Him? That was something that people did after they aged. When they didn’t have anything else to do or pursue.
I needed to live my life. First.
Be committed to me, do what I wanted. First.
Get the job and prestige and money I deserved. First.
That dodged bullet also revealed a very real truth that, “Tomorrow is not promised”. As James writes, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
Twenty years later, I look at my family. I recall the places I’ve lived. The places I’ve visited, experiences I’ve had. I think about the people I have met, many who are like family. The lessons I’ve learned along the way, how I’ve grown, and hopefully how I have helped others grow.
I am grateful. Grateful for dodged bullets and second chances.
“…and I will celebrate before the Lord.
I will become even more undignified than this…”
2 Samuel 6:21-22