On that auspicious day earlier this year, I cast a backward glance when my life was nearly snatched from me and there I saw one set of footprints in the sand of time. Unlike the author of the popular, stirring melody, I did not need my Lord to explain why there was only one set of footprints.
I was shot. By an uncompassionate, cold-blooded criminal who wanted to rob me of my possessions. There was no warning. It all happened in a rush. Just like in the movies – there was a loud explosive sound which initially I thought was the sound of a piece of lumber smashing into the window of the car. As my friend and driver sped off, with screeching tires, there was a volley of shots ringing out as the attacker made a desperate effort to stop us.
I gingerly raised my hand to touch my chin. What I felt instantly filled me with more fear, dread and many conflicting and unexpected thoughts. I hoped that it was only the glass splinters which had adhered to my face but as I simultaneously felt and saw the blood pouring down onto my car’s mat, I knew it was much more than that! My chin had been blown away and there was a gaping hole where it once prominently adorned my face.
Thankfully my driver spotted a police vehicle as he frantically made his way to the hospital and he had the presence of mind to stop for them to transport me instead of him. On the way to the hospital I lost a lot of blood. I sat in the back seat of the vehicle with the left side of my head propped against the back door and all the while my mind was racing. All women are vain to different extents. I was no different. The thought of how I would look terrified me. As soon as that thought tried to take root in the rich soil of my mind, which by now was in overdrive, a quiet peace gently pushed it aside. People who know me, the me before the shooting, all consider me as tending toward negative thinking. I tell you this so that the impact of that quiet push could really sink in – one set of footprints.
The thought of dying never even crossed my mind. I had no idea of the extent of my injury… and perhaps that was a good thing. As I lay in the Intensive Care Unit, probably high on morphine, I had no visions, no hallucinations but I can tell you this. My bed and its appurtenances were off limits to all negativity. There was an almost visible and tangible presence of the Lord. It was, as I like to describe it, like a force field was around my bed. I could feel it and when my family told me about the numerous persons, right at home as well as internationally, offering prayers for my well being, I was not surprised.
When in my speechless, weakened state I was left without medication and food for close to two days, I was transported to the most beautiful place I had ever seen. It was as though I was in the middle of clouds. There was no pain, no sadness, no anger. There was only peace and the feeling that I wanted to stay there forever. However it was not yet my time and from deep down in my tracheostomy ( a tube inserted in my throat to prevent my damaged tongue from slipping and which temporarily rendered me speechless), I heard a male voice saying my name repeatedly, softly at first but when I did not respond, it became louder and urgent. I was on a female ward at that time and when I finally opened my eyes there was absolutely no one close by my bed.
My Lord had lifted me and was keeping me safe. He had a purpose for me still, here on earth. My heavenly Father was not yet ready for me and it is my firm belief that He was the voice that I heard bringing me back, even though I did not want to come back after such a pristine experience. He tenderly looked over me, ensuring that I was well enough before two sets of footprints could be in the sand.