All Things For Good
He wasn't exactly sure what he was supposed to feel. Anger, hurt and fear all swirled around and through him, but ironically it was wonder that took hold of his senses. Even with the betrayal and its results fresh in his mind, the scenes before him filled all of his focus with a sense of awe.
As the wind rushed through his hair he imagined he could understand the feeling a dog had with its head shoved out of the window of a speeding car. The blowing air seemed to have a freeing melody all its own. The ground below him looked to hold a more pristine and clear beauty than he could ever remember seeing before. He pondered why the world around him should wait until now to so completely capture his attention. He supposed that deep down, with his life only a few minutes away from ending, that he didn't want his last thoughts on earth to be ones of sadness and pain. Maybe, he reflected, it would be better if he went out thinking happy thoughts.
The more he mulled that thought over in his mind; the more he realized that his reasoning on his current outlook was not entirely accurate. It seemed to be truer to say that the wonder he was experiencing was the only thing that he could rightly feel. Even now, the concepts of fear, desperation, and horror seemed utterly foreign to him. As if the majesty surrounding him could not physically share the same space with any of those uglier thoughts.
As he suddenly passed through a dark mist, the cool dew condensed on his skin. Goosebumps raised up all over his body and brought a more physical awareness to himself. The air around him was cold more than cool, but it was also refreshing and awakening. The sunlight tried to break through the mist, but it was diffused into an assortment of rainbows that instantly sprang to life, danced around him like children on a playground, and disappeared almost as quickly. In this cooler palette of colors, another reason why he wasn't more upset flashed through his mind.
He deserved everything that was happening to him. It was true, the betrayal hurt, but he was far from what anyone would call a saint by any stretch of the imagination. This realization allowed him to offer some forgiveness to his soon to be murderers. He may himself have never had killed anyone, but he had lived his entire life in a manner almost identical to theirs. Always putting himself before others in all circumstances; acting selfishly and backstabbing those that thought of him as a friend just to get a little further up the ladder. He was reaping the consequences of his poorly led life.
It was almost enough to bring the darker thoughts to the forefront of his mind. But something, a small persistently nagging memory, pushed up towards the more aware areas of his mind. Some nearly forgotten lesson from his childhood slowly gained new life and grew rapidly in clarity with each passing moment. Just as he was able to offer forgiveness to his killers, he knew that an even greater forgiveness was being extended for him. He latched onto this lifeline of hope with both hands and a sense of peace overwhelmed him.
It was at that moment that he broke through the bottom of the cloud, continuing his descent like an overgrown raindrop. He found himself back in the sunlight, amongst both life and death. The ground was much closer now and ever drawing nearer. The details were becoming clearer, and each new glance was easier to focus on than the one before. But, it was okay. He felt content and peaceful. It didn't matter that those he had counted as trusted friends had turned on him, and tossed him from an airplane in flight. It didn't matter that his life was speeding towards its end. Only this beautiful and freeing peace remained, and it was enough.
With that last thought he gave himself over to all encompassing love and joy. The last things that passed through his mind as his body began breaking through the branches of the trees below him were thoughts of his former friends, and his hope that they would be able to experience the same forgiveness he had just found. Finally, everything went black as he impacted with the ground.
Sounds came back first. The wind through the trees and the rustling of small animals as they moved among the branches above him. It was a few moments before he came to the realization that he was laying on the ground in an awkward position. The damp earth smelled of decaying vegetation and dirt, and it cooled his body where he was in contact with it. As he shifted a little, he finally noticed the pain. In a matter of fact, he was in quite a lot of pain. On the bright side though, this told him that he was still among the living.
After awhile, he figured that it was time that he should open his eyes. So he did just that. The canopy formed by the branches above him was surprisingly thick. It formed a nearly unbroken ceiling of greens and browns that would have rivaled the beauty of even the most lavish of cathedrals. Even given the solidity of the trees above him, there was very little evidence of his recent passage. Just a broken branch here and there, and a few boughs of leaves that hung at strange and unnatural angles. He could feel a bed of snapped and twisted tree limbs below him.
As he lay there, he tried to take stock of the injuries he had sustained. He tried to avoid moving too much because he was worried that he was hurt very badly. In fact, he expected to have serious injuries. It seemed odd at first; the way his body felt, but soon he realized what seemed so odd. Even though he felt pain all over, he had a clarity about his body that allowed him to easily sense and identify his more serious problems. He knew that he had broken four ribs. Not three or five; four. His left leg was broken below the knee and his right shoulder had been pulled from its socket. He had sustained some internal injuries and he was suffering from a fairly severe concussion. He was able to pinpoint every one of these injuries without needing to see them.
Even though he knew that it wouldn't be a good idea, he knew that he had to move. He needed medical attention, and it was highly unlikely that anyone would stumble across him here before it was too late. He sat up and rolled to his feet easily. Far too easily it seemed to him. He quickly glanced down and surveyed the patch of ground he had landed on. There was nothing there that explain why he was still alive. There was no soft mud and there it lacked any bed of vegetation. In fact, he realized that he was standing amongst the rocks and boulders of a dried up creek bed. It was a miracle.
As he took a step, the realization hit him fully. In shock he quickly looked down at his leg. He could actually see the bulge under the skin where the bones no longer lined up, but he was putting weight on this leg and it was still supporting him. It was then that he knew. It was a miracle, but it wasn't one of divine intervention. Rather it was a miracle of divine preparation. Somehow he knew that he had survived not because God had slowed his fall or placed his landing. He had survived because he had been made to survive.
It was then that he remembered the freedom he had felt from the forgiveness he had been given and had given in return. He hadn't just been given that gift in dying grace. He had been given in it to prepare himself. He had been given this ability to survive for a reason as well. He was sure of it. He wasn't aware of what that purpose was exactly, but he was certain that it would be revealed in time. He only had to wait for it. Until then, he had a few things to do. Such as finding someone to help patch up his wounds.
With that, he turned and started walking. He figured that he could follow the creek bed downhill until he came to civilization. He walked slowly, moving through the pain. Even so, he carried on his face a fierce and mighty grin. He was a man with freedom and a purpose, even if he wasn't sure what it was quite yet. And that, that was going to make things interesting.