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It Can Happen in an Instant- Part 1

In a split second our lives can change.  It can range from the worst thing imaginable to the most joyous occasion.  One day you could be here and the next you’re gone.  Or on the other spectrum of instantaneous happenings, many individuals have become millionaires overnight!  Be it good or bad, anything can happen in an instant.  Twenty four years ago something just as dramatic as becoming a millionaire overnight happened to me.  I was not expecting it.  It just happened!

As a teenager I used to attend a Christian youth camp called “Mahaffey”.  It was a CMA (Christian Missionary Alliance) church camp in a little rural town near Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania.  Yes, this is where Phil the groundhog resides.  I’ve seen plenty of his cousins there, but never the prognosticator himself.  In the years I attended in the summer, I didn’t always attend for the right reasons.  My favorite part about this place was being with my friends, playing the volleyball & basketball tournaments, eating the cheap burgers at the snack shack, & waiting in an hour long line every night for the famous milkshakes after the evening service.

During my teen years my motives weren’t so innocent.  I went to camp to get away & do things I should’ve never have done.  I allowed my feet to pursue a dark path.  We were required to attend the church services everyday in the youth building called the tabernacle.  The camp leadership had entertaining speakers & music lined up everyday but my heart was hard.  I never really cared too much about what anyone had to say.  I was living my life the way I wanted & I liked it.  However, there was one particular story I remember out of the dozens of sermons I heard.   It was about a football injury that was career ending.  The man in this story had a brutal tackle one game that left his tibia bone protruding out of his skin.  It was a compound fracture that ended his football career.  Nothing that was ever spoken until that point moved me because I was selfish & I didn’t care.  But for some reason this story resonated deep within me.  I couldn’t shake the visual.

Later that morning after the service I was ready to start the activities!  My friends & I quickly made our way for lunch & then headed straight to the basketball & volleyball courts where the games were about to begin.  We made our teams earlier in the week & were placed in our brackets.  Game 1 was on!  It was a fierce battle under the hot noon day sun.  My opponent, who also happened to be my childhood friend, was considerably larger than me.  I was 5’7′.  he was well over 6′.  He also had a considerable weight class over me.  I maybe weighed 165 & he was roughly 230lbs!  The ball was on our court & became loose from a swat.  I turned on the jets to keep the ball from going back court.  My friend followed suite but took a giant tumble right onto the lower part of my left leg just as I reached for the ball.

Snap!  That was the defining silence that was heard over the whole court.  Then came the screams.  I looked down in a daze to see what had just took place & there was my bone pushing through my skin!  The story I had heard at the early service was playing through my mind as the very incident of the football player just came to fruition.  I heard someone call the ambulance & was telling them “we have a compound fracture.”  I rolled & pounded the ground as a crowd now formed around me to see what was happening.

Then all of a sudden as I’m trying to console myself while others were trying to settle me down, I get a glimpse of a man walking down from the edge of the woods just 200 feet above the court past the RV section of camp.  He was carrying a black medical bag.  It was as if I saw him walking in slow motion.  The moment he reached me, my situation drastically changed in an instant!

Stay tuned next week for the remainder of the story’s dramatic end…

Mahaffey Camp & Conference Center