by Sandi Austin

Does a cat really have nine lives? We’ve all heard that saying and may wonder where that thought came from. Perhaps it’s because cats always land on their feet, no matter how far they fall.

We humans may possess that ability. There are those of us who might be wondering, “How many lives do I have left?” after going through our own trials and tribulations.

If the old adage about cats having nine lives did apply to humans, I would have to say that I have five lives left. I’ve used up four lives in the last 43 years, and I’m grateful that God didn’t think it was my time to go in any of those four incidents.

The first two happened while we were living in northeast Colorado. After the birth of our youngest, my husband woke in the middle of the night to find me unconscious and slumped over at the kitchen table, a pool of blood beneath me. We lived 23 miles from town so, after our neighbor came to gather up our three children, my husband drove me to the hospital. I had been hemorrhaging from post-birth complications.

Nine years later, I developed septic shock caused by kidney stones and was taken by Flight for Life to a Denver hospital. I don’t remember much about that ride, but I did learn later that they almost touched down at Fort Morgan because they thought they lost me.

In 2005, on a snowy January 31 morning, and as crazy as this may sound, I used up two more lives in just one hour’s time. I was commuting to my newspaper job on a morning filled with area crashes caused by icy roads. I skidded across the median and was hit by a car, a pickup and a semi/trailer hauling milk. The ladder attached to the side of that milk tank kept me from going underneath the trailer. I was put in an ambulance with several others and, on the way to Longmont United Hospital, the ambulance hit a car head-on and rolled over onto its top in the ditch. After returning to work two weeks later, my co-workers kidded me about the trouble I went to to get on the February 1 front page of the Rocky Mountain News.

When I think back on those lives “used up,” I thank God that He chose to not take me just yet. My time on earth apparently isn’t done. But what did I do to deserve that ability to land on my feet like a cat? Why was I so special? Did I do something heroic and not realize it? Did I make a difference in someone’s life? Or is there something yet to be done? Will I know it when God gives me a sign?

One thing is for sure…it has made me a stronger person, stronger in my faith! I think about this passage from James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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