I was never very passionate. I had few reasons to live. I had a loving family but I tended to be isolated from them and everyone else. I made friends easily but had trouble maintaining those friendships or following through. I simply could not finish what I started.
I bumped into a man. He was plain-looking, with deep, soulful eyes that stared straight into mine. “I am the angel of death,” he introduced himself. “Today is your last day on Earth, Grace Marie Trent. Spend it the way you want to.” He then turned and disappeared.
I had never lived much. I didn’t know how to spend my day. I had some clothes, though, and I loaded them up and walked the streets of St. Louis with them. I gave them to people I saw whose clothes were dirty, who lived on the streets. I bought McDonald’s meals and passed them out along the streets. I knew it was pointless to give homeless people money.
I listened to see who might need back rent paid. I went and paid a young woman’s rent. She worked hard and, even though she didn’t want to go on welfare, she feared she had no choice, as her husband was arrested and sitting in jail, so they only had her wages. Her rent was due and she was afraid she’d lose her apartment and she and her four children would be on the streets. I paid her back rent and next month’s rent, and called my manager friend at a clothing store and found her a job there that would alleviate some of the financial burdens she incurred.
I had never given so much of my time and effort. I wished I could change my life. I wished I could have given more, I wish I had spent my life giving to other people and understanding the satisfaction that accompanies it. I had one day, and in that one day, I was more human than I ever had been.
This is what Heaven is, isn’t it, God? God, I’m not praying for myself. I’m praying for everyone I could help. Please let me live longer.
I gave my older extra car to a woman who desperately needed transportation. It was just gathering dust anyway. I sold some of my least favorite books and donated the money to children’s organizations. I helped the people in my community. I couldn’t reach the people in Africa, but I could help the hurting people in America, in Saint Louis, Missouri. And I did.
When the angel of death came to me as I walked down an alley on my way home, I stiffened. “Is there any way God will spare my life?”
“I am sorry. God heard your plea yet his plans have not changed. It’s time to go home and meet God.”
I had tears in my eyes. “If it is the Lord’s will and good for the people, I will die with honor.”
The angel of death touched my shoulder.
Instantly, my body collapsed as my spirit headed to God. I was crying because my perspective changed in the one day I thought was my last, and I could not do anything about it. My second chance ended. There was nothing I could do.
As I stood, God said, “I have decided to give you one last chance based on your mother’s prayers. You will return to Earth and live a productive and full life. If it seems you are not living that life, your life will end that day. Live each day as if it were your last. You never know. It might be.”