It was a typical Iowa fall morning. The air was sharp but fresh. A light haze hugged the ground across the Cedar Valley. Water towers and tall trees stood as ghosts in the distance.
This was a normal morning for me. I was on my way to work with nothing in particular on my mind. The silence, at first, was maddening, but I have grown accustomed to it over the weeks my car radio has been out. I turn left onto the highway.
Moments later, I drive by the construction of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. Super. Yeah, that’s it, just super. I notice they are really making progress on the super-structure. Lanes are closed and traffic is tight. I should have been paying attention.
I didn’t actually cross the center line, but I got close enough, too close. The dump truck on the other hand, well, he must have been just as impressed with the construction goings-on as I was because he crossed over. Impact. Crushing metal. Broken bones. The hood on my little red Probe crumples like wad of paper tossed out by a frustrated author. The windshield shatters into oblivion. My face is greeted by an industrial sized tire which nearly removes my head. Blackness.
It takes 9 months to enter this world. We leave it in an instant.
The funeral was held on a Monday afternoon. People from everywhere showed up. Old high school friends, friends from college, and the local community. The epitaph read: “Here lies Nate Beam: Father to six, Husband to one, dedicated follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As my wife sits in the front row seat of the sanctuary, her mind races to make sense of what has happened over the last few days. I, on the other hand, have the meeting of a lifetime.
“Hello, Nathan.” These words were not spoken by the figure standing in front of me, but I heard them as audibly as any word spoken to me in life.
“Indeed. May I ask you a question?”
“Of course you can…you’re Jesus.”
“Now that all is said and done, now that all is gone and still just begun, what have you done with your time, and why?”
In that instant, I knew. I knew that He wasn’t mad at me. I just knew how sad He was. I knew the truth about my life on earth. And I had no answer that would have seemed even remotely valid, other than the truth.
“You’re right Jesus. I wasted a ton of time. “
“Indeed. Try not to do the same this time.”
With that, I find myself driving by the construction site for the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. There is no dump truck. There is no crumpled metal. There are no feelings of guilt or sadness. There is only a sense of mission. A mission not to waste my time. Indeed.