The latest from Daris Howard
By all accounts from the hospital staff, Bart had died.
He had been in a wreck, and when the emergency crew arrived on the scene, he barely had a pulse.
Bart was life-flighted to the nearest regional hospital, and the nurses and doctors did everything they could to save him. Bart was wellloved in our community, and word spread quickly. Many people started fasting and praying. But despite it all, eventually, the hospital said they had lost him. But then something happened, and he came back. Bart didn’t really want to come back, and he was not at all pleased at being here.
“I’m not afraid of dying,” he said. “It’s the process of getting there that I don’t relish, and I didn’t want to have to do it twice.”
To add to his displeasure, he found that many of his internal organs didn’t work as well as they previously had.
Some things had to be removed to save his life, and what was left worked at a subpar level.
He said that if the fasting and praying had brought him back, he was not the slightest bit pleased with it.
Bart often asked why he had to come back. One day at church, he specifically cornered me to ask that question.
“Bart, I can’t tell you why some things happen,” I replied. “But I feel everything has a reason. Sometime something will happen, and you will feel that your question will at least partly be answered. However, you may never know the full reason until your life is ending.”
Bart tried to deal with his changed life the best he could. He worked
through his health issues and learned to live with the ones he could not change.
He struggled to do everything he could before and had to adjust to letting his sons do more of the farm work. It was a big adjustment, and he tried not to complain, but he still struggled with the question of why. And with that question came the personal doubts about himself and the value of his life.
But all of that changed one day.
On that day, a group of Bart’s grandsons,
along with a few friends, decided to
work on some old four-wheelers and snow machines in Bart’s shop.
The machines hadn’t run in years, and the boys were trying to get them started.
They were using extra gasoline to try to get the engines to fire when something went terribly wrong.
A spark from one machine lit the gasoline on fire, and that caught the gas can on fire.
A huge flame shot out and engulfed the portion of the room closest to the door.
They tried to get the door open, but with the fire burning too hot near it, the heat drove them back. The fire shot up to the ceiling, and once it had burned a hole through the sheetrock, it raced with the flame of an air-fired forge through the rafters.
Unable to help with the equipment his sons were working on, a discouraged Bart had decided to go home.
That was when he saw the smoke. He rushed to his shop and quickly realized there had to be someone inside.
He braved the heat and smoke to get the door open and quelled the fire there enough so he could get all the boys out.
The boys were taken to the hospital, and though they all had smoke inhalation and burns, the doctor said they would all recover. But then he said something to Bart that made him rethink his question on the value of his life.
The doctor said, “If you had not been there, arriving when you did, none of the boys would be alive.”
Bart considered that maybe there truly was an important reason for his life after all, and he was glad he came back despite the challenges.
(Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author.