My life is not my own - Purpose through the lens of a bullet hole

It is Thursday, the 17th of September 2015, the night of my daughters 18th month birthday. I have just arrived at OR Tambo airport from a successful speaking engagement in Cape Town. On my way home from the airport I stop at a robot my car drivers window is aggressively mowed down by a group of angry criminals. Before I know it, I am pulled out of my car and beaten to a pulp. Finally, two gunshots are fired at me as I naively try to fight back - I am defenceless. The criminals steal everything they can get their hands on, except my car and leave me for dead. I get up and run 50 metres back into my car and start driving franticly trying to find help. My phone has been stolen and blood is gushing out my wounds like a tap with no valve. I finally get help from a security guard at Melrose Arch. I can hear the police sirens as I am strapped into an ambulance van having lost a considerable amount of blood. Before I pass out, due to significant blood loss, it suddenly dawns on me that I've been a victim of a malicious crime in my beloved country. The questions in my mind are "will I make it or will I not make it? what about my 18 month old daughter, my wife, family and friends" as the ambulance races through red traffic lights in the streets of Johannesburg. Here comes the irony: When life and death stands face to face. The velocity, power and precision of bullets in transit calculated for death is the very substance that has the power to resurrect broken dreams, forsaken purpose and the zest for a life that leaves an indelible mark that transcends through generations. It becomes an inerasable reminder of your purpose, vision and existence. It reminds you of the vanity and futility of life lived for one's own self aggrandizement, yet depicting artistic perfection of the value of life lived in harmony with all. It reminds you of the bankruptcy of your life currency in the absence of others. How naïve are we to think we are self-sufficient in the absence of others. An experience like this provides you with the opportunity to reevaluate life through your death bed, on borrowed time. All of us, without exception, will one day look back at life and do an assessment of the things that mattered and the things that wasted precious seconds, minutes, days, years and ultimately life. For some, at this point, it may be too late to make amends. I have come to conclude that near death experiences are Gods precious favour-portions given to His loved, favoured and selected children. God uses these experiences as instruments as a much needed wake up call as a reminder to number our days. How long will we go through life day dreaming? If we knew we had such little time to live, who would we spend our time with? What words would we speak? what would really matter? Would the never-ending work deadlines take precedent over your love-sick child? Would work come before family? Would the criminals who tried to take my life continue living their lives this way? Would we even have crime at all? still have crime at all? Everyday we are chasing something, which is in reality, unimportant - like a mad man daily chasing the sun as it rises from the east and sets in the west. I am eternally grateful for the bullets which pierced through my flesh like a hot iron. What was meant for my destruction failed; instead, as iron sharpens iron the bullets sharpened my focus to be the best man God designed me to be. I'm thankful to all the friends, mentors and family who, through their incredible love and support, have helped me better appreciate this blessing in disguise. My brother and my sister: life is precious, fragile and passing at the speed of each breath and soon life as we know it (in its current state) will be over. Make the right choice, where you can, say: "no return, no regret and no surrender".

Best wishes

Themba Dlamini