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It’s important to embrace each day

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By Michael Duncan

Pastor, Eminence Baptist Church

Sept. 9 started off like most Fridays. Friday is my standard “day off” and usually finds me doing some chores around the house and spending some time with Donna.
Donna was not off that day. She had work to do at her part-time job with the Henry County Baptist Association, but we had plans for the evening. She would be home by 4 p.m., and had all been normal, by 5 p.m. we would have been meeting long-time friends Jim and Sue in Shelbyville for a night out, which would include dinner and a trip to Actors Theatre of Louisville.
When I say long-time friends, I mean it. Donna and I have been going on double dates with Jim and Sue since 1976. For 40 years, the four of us have been season ticket holders for Actors Main Stage Series. Over the years, we’ve done far more than share dinner and the theater. We have become enmeshed in each other’s lives.
Friendships like ours with Jim and Sue matter. We have shared times of great joy and sadness. We’ve mourned the loss of family members, been present to support each other in times of crisis. We’ve agreed and disagreed; and through it all, we have been there for each other.
Friday, Sept. 9, was the date for the beginning of our new season at Actors. Although Jim and Sue had bowed out because of a conflict in their schedule, Donna and I were set to go, until.
One of my chores on that particular Friday was to mow the lawn. Shortly after one o’clock, I was almost through. I was using my trimmer/edger along the driveway, which has a fairly steep embankment. Reaching down the embankment to clean up some grass I had missed with the mower, I lost my balance.
While I’ve flown successfully many times in my dreams, I do not recommend it in real life. What I remember just before impact was seeing my feet higher than my head. A split second later, my back crashed onto the ground.
We didn’t make it to Actors Theatre that Friday night. Trips to urgent care, the neurologist and two MRI’s later, I learned that I have a fractured lumbar vertebra and another fracture in the sacral part of my lower back. I’m thankful that there was no neurological damage.
I’ve been virtually homebound since the fall. I am healing and I will heal. I’ve begun some limited re-entry into life, meaning that I went to church this past Sunday.
This article is not about my fall or my injuries. It is about the importance of embracing each day we are given. For good or ill, life can and does change in a split second.
If I could have my split second back, I would undo my fall. I can’t. What I have is this day as it is. I’ve embraced the solitude the injury has brought. I’ve embraced those moments when pain lessened. I’ve embraced and cherished moments of conversations with visitors and the taste of the goodies they brought. I’ve been reminded of the preciousness of the moment, and I have recommitted myself to living in the moment I have.
Throughout this experience, I’ve been hearing afresh this word from James, chapter 4: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’”