Near-Death, Full of life: From Ann Arbor to Thailand

by Good Sign on October 27, 2014

photo 1 (2)

By Kevin Alan Lamb

We get what we need, when we need it, and we bleed because we’re human, don’t be defeated!

These words help me remain strong when times are tough, and breath comes a little less easy. Tuesday morning I woke at 3 a.m. to work a Mary Kay promotion at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. On-site at 5, I was happy to be working a long day during a time when I could use the money. Pretty exhausted, and lacking confidence that I had funds for lunch, I took a nap in the study room inside the Union during my break. By the time 7 o’clock rolled around, I was hungry and excited to go home, but as fate has it, it wouldn’t be so simple. My debit card was declined when I tried to pay the $18.00 to exit the parking garage: it is my only form of payment these days in an effort to govern my spending…

For the first time in my life I was trapped in a parking garage. Granted, I’ve spent hours looking for my car, or a friend’s car in parking garages, but this was a new hat my delicate lifestyle insisted I try on. I was initially greeted with a sense of helplessness and disappointment in myself for not always covering my ass, and walking the fine line between a dream and one deferred. Like others that navigate the unconventional path packed with freedom and landmines, I have grown accustomed to dodge, duck, dive, and ultimately carry on.

I phoned Ray, with whom I had worked with for the first time, but formed a genuine relationship, because that is my gift. He even gave me a new nickname, “Bigs”. Fortunately for me, he was still loading the truck and hadn’t departed to Pennsylvania for their next event at Villanova. I ran back to the Union where we discussed the terms on how I would ensure he was repaid for his generosity. He was about to give me cash when he remembered that he had hit his number on a lotto ticket for $15 earlier that day. I cashed it in, and along with some change and a single I found in my winter jacket, purchased my freedom. I am an emotional human that relies on music for just about – everything. I traveled M 14 East with Possessed By Paul James“Heavy” simultaneously pressing and calming my breath. Even after the 45 minute drive I sat in my car for a few more minutes after pulling into the driveway. I was happy to be home, and working my way towards a productive response to struggle.

While laying in bed I noticed a text from my friend Courtney who is in Thailand, volunteering, coaching basketball, and being the spectacular soul she is. It had been a week since I had last heard from her. At the time she was traveling on a bus while we caught up. She sent me a picture of a Good Sign above her seat that she had placed for the next passenger: planting a little seed of hope, as so many of us these days, often do. Next, she sent me a picture of her demolished bus that was driven off of a cliff, resulting in the death of the driver among other passengers. Courtney was not injured in the accident, and the Good Sign was just where she had left it. This marks the second near-death experience of someone I care dearly for, in the past two months. This also marks, the second near-death experience evaded free of injury, by three individuals that I consider family, in the past two months.


Yet again grateful for the protective powers that have perpetuated life for the ones I love, Courtney’s experience reminded me how precious life is, and what really matters. Despite the internal struggle I enabled myself to be at odds with, at no time was my life, or the life of someone I love at risk. Courtney said that she initially was going to end her mission short, and return home, but she had changed her mind. I thanked her for putting things in perspective for me, and for her courage. We both believe that her work in Thailand is not complete, and this was undoubtedly a Good Sign, to continue her journey. With all my 6’7-sized-heart, I believe this vivid, cross-continental set of experiences was given to me as a gift to always remind what matters in this life of mine. With pride and confidence I feel prosperity in a not-so-distant future, and have faith that stories like this will ensure I remember what it felt like to depend on the compassion of another, to make payment, and be granted freedom from a parking garage after a long day’s work.  I feel the tide turning on my fortune and the fortunes of the lives I’m grateful to be a part of. I feel the transformation of struggle into strength. I feel fear being shed with the tears so often in my eyes. I feel freedom from the detriment of doubt in my heart. I feel the breath released from the lips of each of the ones I love who have evaded death. I feel the hope returning to hearts, healing from its absence. I feel everything all at once and I embrace the man who I am, and the man I will one day become.

We get what we need, when we need it, and we bleed because we’re human, don’t be defeated!

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