He’s Alive

by John Grant

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24

While attending a meeting in New York City late one afternoon last week, I received a curious e-mail from an attorney in the state capitol. It said simply “Are you okay,” and went on to say that a rumor was circulating around the capitol that I had passed away. Then other calls and e-mails followed from both the capitol and from my hometown. I believe it was I Mark Twain who said: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” I felt like that.

It seems that bad news spreads like wildfire and soon the local newspaper got hold of it and called my wife. Fortunately, she had talked to me a few minutes before. Somewhat caught off guard by the cheery manor in which Beverley answered, the reporter proceeded with caution and when she got around to asking the question, Beverley assured her that all was well.

When I later answered the reporter’s voice mail left on my phone, she said she was relieved that I was indeed alive, a statement I very much doubt as it cost her a by-line in the next day’s edition. I am sure she was all lathered up to write my obituary and had in fact already collected quotes on my demise from local political activists, who were then busy calling all their friends with the latest political news.

I told the reporter that in fact I had died and was calling from heaven, where the reception was excellent. I told her that I got in easily when St. Peter asked what I had done to deserve this divine eternal residence, and my answer was that the local newspaper had never agreed with me politically, to which St. Peter responded, “Come on in!”

She commented on how upbeat Beverley had sounded and I explained that was because she was adding up my life insurance. I have always said that if I could be anyone other than myself, I would want to be Beverley Grant’s second husband, because the couple will enjoy a comfortable live-style.

I continued returning phone calls and voice mails on the plane before we pushed back from the gate and a nice lady in the seat in front of me who could not avoid overhearing my conversations turned around and said she too was glad I was alive. As we took to the air, what had at first been a funny occurrence in an otherwise boring day turned to sober thoughts. What if I had died, I thought. Was I ready for the eternal transition? Had I finished everything I needed to do here on earth? Had I left the right legacy?

I thought of Alfred Nobel, benefactor of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was also the inventor of dynamite. In 1868, a French newspaper wrote a premature obituary, entitled “The Merchant of Death is Dead” condemning him for his invention. When Nobel read his own obituary, it is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death.

My experience caused me to have the same thoughts as Nobel. Since I didn’t die, I still have a chance to polish my legacy. As Bill Gaither’s great hymn says, “Between the Cross and Heaven, There’s a Whole Lot of Living to Do.” The question is how will I live it?
(a thought on life from John Grant)

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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney. He is an active writer and frequent speaker.  He can be reached by e-mail at John.Grant@johngrant.net


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