I Learned How Precious Life Is
IT WAS THE MORNING OF APRIL 16, 2007. As I crouched in a corner of a third-floor office in Norris Hall on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, I was once again reminded of how grateful we should be for each precious day of life that we have.
I was in my office getting ready to go to the second floor to pick up my mail. A professor came by to ask me to go to his office to help him with a computer problem. As we entered his office, we heard repeated gunshots ringing out on the second floor. Not knowing what was happening, we hurried into his office, locked the door, and anxiously awaited what the next minutes of our life might bring. I found refuge in a corner and opened my heart to Jehovah God in prayer, asking for his guidance to face whatever lay ahead.
As we waited, an event of 15 years earlier flashed through my mind. I was working as a mechanic in an auto shop. A small pan of gasoline in the hands of my fellow worker ignited. In a panic, he accidentally threw the flaming gas right on my face! I inhaled the burning fumes and suffered second- and third-degree burns over the upper part of my body. I was taken by helicopter to a burn center and remained there in intensive care for three and a half months, fighting for my life. After five months of treatment and rehabilitation, I was able to return home, thankful just to be alive. That experience taught me to count each day of life as precious. It also reinforced my determination to use my life in the service of the one who gave me that life, Jehovah God—as one of his Witnesses.—Psalm 90:12; Isaiah 43:10.
Unable to work as an auto mechanic because of complications from my injuries, I learned to work with computers and was employed by Virginia Tech. That was why I was at Norris Hall that morning.
As the shots continued, little did we realize that the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history was taking place just one floor below us. The carnage ended when the gunman killed himself after he had taken the life of 32 innocent victims. About 20 minutes after it all started, we heard police in the hallway. We called out to them, and they escorted us to safety.
This harrowing experience has taught me how fleeting and uncertain life is. (James 4:14) How important it is for us to put our trust in the Giver of life, Jehovah God, and to count each day as a precious gift from him!—Psalm 23:4; 91:2.
[Picture Credit Line on page 30]
AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim