Top Ten Near Death Experiences in My First 40 Years of Life

If everything goes right, and Lord willing, I will be dead in the next 40 years!


I have always had a desire to depart, never suicidally, but a good healthy “I can’t wait to go to heaven, which is far better” desire. I have posted here previously about how many guys in the Bible desired to die. It’s not always a bad thing.

Any time I hear about diets or medicines or special obnoxious things a guy can do to “lengthen his life,” I make sure to do the opposite.

“Honor your mother and father so your days may be long on the earth” didn’t quite have the desired effect on me.

I honored my father and mother because my father had a way of making not honoring him turn out very badly for me.

I am of the conviction that a guy must present God with the opportunity to end his life every once in a while just to give God a handy way to off ya in case it’s time.

If you’re not somewhat regularly nearly dying, you probably aren’t really living.

Here are my top ten near death experiences in my first 40 years in no particular order, cuz they were all, in their own way, awesome.

1) River Canoe Ride. I was about five-years old and canoeing down a river with my dad and another guy. We hit a submerged tree. The canoe flipped all the way over and back around to right side up. I never let go of the metal bar in front of me and went around with the canoe. But I was alone for terrifying moments.

2) Bike Rides. I have been hit by one car. I have been nearly hit many times. Once by a high school chic speeding around a 90-degree turn and sliding right across my lane about four feet in front of me and then she went into a ditch and into a tree. Idiot. There have been many mountain bike rides where I assumed I would die, including two where I slid down a hill on my head.

3) Icy Lake Superior. Junior high me was walking along an ice covered cliff on Lake Superior. Oh yeah, here ya go God! I slipped and began sliding to my death and was saved by my uncut fingernails. Who says bad personal hygiene is actually a bad thing?

4) Downtown Minneapolis. My wife and I used to regularly attend Minnesota Twins games at the Old Metrodome. We found a great place to park for free at a housing project where you had to walk across a pedestrian bridge over the highway to get to the stadium. One night around 11 as we were walking back to our car a guy came running up the embankment, over the fence and onto the bridge right in front of us. I thought we were dead. We were not. Minnesota nice!

5) Stupid Marathon. The training went so well. But when you’re hyperventilating, crying and being hugged by overweight women who are walking the same speed as you, death seems imminent.

6) Downtown Chicago. College age me with two friends got lost in downtown Chicago, a significant portion of which was spent underneath the main roads with a large population of homeless folk. I have no idea how we got there or how we got out. Then we got kicked off the tollway cuz none of us had any money for the toll! “Do you take checks?” was the awesome line of that night. A night that will live in infamy.

7)Wilhelmine. I was a janitor at college in Nazareth Hall, a huge old building from an old Catholic seminary. There were many reports that the building was haunted by a woman named Wilhelmine buried in a chapel on campus (you can watch a documentary on her here. Kevin Thompson and Dan Monson–interviewed in the documentary–were two guys I worked for.). I worked at night. I was often the only one in the building. One night in particular while I was cleaning the cafeteria, by myself, a door that went into a tunnel under the courtyard that was always, and I mean always, locked, suddenly opened and I saw things. There are more stories I have on that, but we’ll just move on. I gave myself the creeps again.

8) Dating. Pretty much every date I went on until I met my wife-to-be was a near death experience for me. My insecure self was too messed up to stay calm in such situations. I knew I’d marry Cindy cuz at no point in our dating did I ever feel like throwing up. Except that one time when I had that spicy chicken Chinese meal, but trust me, that was different.

9) Sickness. In one six month stretch I had four different strains of violent stomach flu. Whether I nearly died or not, I remember praying that God would please kill me now. Then there was the episode with the abscess. But I’ll move on.

10) Riding with Idiots. Since I couldn’t drive due to my eyes, I had to hitch rides with friends. Being an idiot myself, I had idiots for friends. There are way too many stories about near death in cars. There is a reason young men have high insurance rates. One particular moment will always stick in my memory–looking down on the driver from the passenger seat because we were on two wheels.