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I have for some time been aware, at least peripherally, of a realization fomenting in my mind. It is an uncomfortable thought, and I am often troubled for some time after any occurrence which brings to the front this realization.

The troubling thought- stepping beyond a point from which there is no return.

Seems somewhat silly when I write it out like that, but it is true. There are examples that can be readily given to try and illustrate the thought more precisely; the moment a bullet leaves the end of a barrel; the second one steps off the edge of a cliff; the moment the Physician announces you are terminally ill. I believe you may get the point by now, though I am certain you can imagine many more such examples or scenarios.

The first time I remember becoming aware of this uncomfortable realization was when contemplating a man taking the last few steps to his execution. The “moment” being that instance when he must leave his cell and make his way to the chamber to have his final sentence carried out; those first few steps out of the cell being those steps from which there is, no return.

One place my mind quickly goes to when considering this type of issue is the crucifixion of the Christ. There was a point when Pilate relented to those who sought to kill Jesus and passed the sentence of death upon him…

John 19:15-18 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

I do not know precisely the time it took for Jesus to travel from Pilate’s judgment hall to Golgotha, having seen it portrayed in several movies I imagine it was not very long. When I honestly take time to consider the event, really meditating upon it I experience that sense of realization of which I have been writing- that point of no return being crossed. The text reads rather bluntly, “He delivered him over to them to be crucified, so they took Jesus and crucified him.” The sentence was pronounced, they strapped the cross beam upon him, and off they went!

What a whirlwind! Imagine the scene, the gavel falls-“WHAM! judgment. Whatever time it takes to arrive at the place of execution, is all the time you have left, you will not be coming back; no repeal, no second chance- finished. I guess it is the speed at which the event takes place which bears so much weight for me.

One moment everything is as it always is, the next it is forever changed. You pull the trigger; inject the drug; whatever the thing.

Now for the really scary part…

You and I are already there.

With every breath we exhale we must face the realization that another one might not come. Every step holds the potential to be the last step, and this from the moment of our birth.

Seriously considering that thought, we must ask ourselves the next question.

Are you prepared for what comes next?