Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Space

Last Sunday evening Sandy got a call from our health club from one of our employees. He wanted her to know that a man had collapsed while on the treadmill and that he had called 911. Health club or no, such things happen from time-to-time, and it is standard procedure to alert EMS and have them provide the professionalism exceeding that of a first responder. Sandy got the details and we were satisfied that everything was under control. I called a few minutes later, and things had taken a drastic turn for the worst. Now, two nurses who had been working out, had rushed to the fallen man's side giving him CPR, then AED to resuscitate him as he lay sprawled on the floor. EMS had just joined the life saving effort. Sandy and I jumped in our vehicles and sped off for the club. When we arrived we learned the man had died. The club was empty.

Strange events then began to unravel around the situation. First, our employee was new, so he was not sure who the man was. He had already begun going through our daily stats (every member is checked in and we have a picture ID of them), and wasn't sure which of the many male members that he scrolled through was him. The body had already been removed, so I asked for a description of the deceased. Was he: caucasian or a person of color; his approximate height and age; was he obese or skinny, etc) and began going through the process myself. Based on the description, I was quite certain I had pinpointed the person we were trying to identify, but I still wasn't absolutely sure. Simultaneously we had someone in the men's locker room looking for any ID that may have been left in a locker. Nothing. Checking the around the treadmill where he collapsed, and actually pulling it out into the middle of the floor, we searched to see if his cell phone, or keys, had skittered under it. Nothing. We went out to the parking lot and began checking the vehicles that remained in our general parking area. Through the process of elimination we stood before the only unidentified vehicle, a small pickup truck. Doors locked. Cupping my hands against the tinted windows, peering in I could see nothing helpful. The truck bed had one of those snap-down covers, so we popped it open and looked for something that would provide a clue. Nothing.

The coroner arrived, so once again we swept the club in search of confirming ID. At the treadmill, it occurred to me that following the chaos, the wrong treadmill may have been identified. It had been. It was the one to the right, and in the cup holder was a set of keys, and on the key ring was the name of the deceased.

At most times many in the club knew our 51 years old member, and everyone liked the guy. But that night not a single person knew him, and he died in the midst of strangers.

When he joined the gym I distinctly remember him telling me of stints that had recently been put in his heart. "It's my wake-up call. I've changed my diet. Already lost 40 few pounds. I'm gonna take better care of himself." George pledged to me.

That night after I crawled into bed a haunting hounded me. Recurring thoughts of entering the pickup vehicle (after we found the keys), intimated that I had violated sacred space looking for proof-positive to identify the deceased. The moment was surreal. Leaning across the passenger seat the span of my arm could reach any point in the cab. Slowly and visually I swept that little space, maybe 2.5X4.5 feet, then opened the glove box. Neat and orderly, but no registration to be found. Coiling from the cigarette lighter, was a phone charger with a phone on the end of it. I lit the screen. Nothing. Next, flipping open the console, the first thing I saw was a bottle of hand sanitizer, a CD, and a couple of receipts. And there, standing on its edge, against the wall of the console, was a wallet. I said to the coroner, "Here's what we have been looking for."

Drained, I just wanted to go to sleep, but sleep would have nothing to do with me. Soon I found myself looking at the things that were in my space. A space about the same as the cab of Georges' truck. To my left, Sandy, my wife of 33 years dreamed and slept. I am not alone. To my right were books. . .

Guns, God, and Rock'n' Roll by Ted Nugent
Senior Year-A Father, A Son, And High School Baseball by Dan Shaughnesy
Deep Survival-Who lives, Who Dies, and Why" by Laurence Gonzales,
Jesus Calling a devotional
Booker T. Washington-American Hero-BTW Society
NIV Bible with SaultoPaul embossed on the cover,
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Common Sense by by Thomas Paine
Revolution In World Missions by K P Yohannon
Radical by David Pratt
Backpacker magazine

Books . . . each one with a page dogeared to let me know where I left off reading. Some barely started. Some half read. Some just perused. Some almost finished. Some finished. Some I have read multiple times. All being read simultaneously.

In my space, no more than the span of my reach, are the clues that lead me to an understanding of my true identity. For any and all who read this post, I would encourage and you to check your space? Most likely, somewhere in your physical world are clues. Be quiet, and like a sleuth studying evidence let the evidence speak. It will not lead you to believe you are who others want you to be, or the person you may think you have convinced others you are. Instead, there will be a trail of clues that tell you who you really are. That's what I found in my space. . .

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bill....well written. Thanks for sharing. I just now checked my space. Love Ya Man, Rock.