‘Don’t give up on me’


My wife, Marti, loves to tell the story of a dramatic rescue in which she played a significant role when she was a flight attendant. On a routine done-it-a-hundred-times flight from Chicago to New York, a gentleman on board had a heart attack. Literally keeled over in his seat. This is when you are really grateful for the flight attendant call button the man’s fellow passenger pushed in a panic.

Marti sprang into action as soon as she discovered what had happened. She often complained about her flight attendant job that they were so well trained in what they rarely used. Of course you want it this way, since what they were trained for is emergencies like getting people off of burning airplanes. That didn’t matter to Marti; in her imagination she had gotten everyone safely off the plane a thousand times. So much so that she actually used to talk about wanting to crash. I tried to point out to her that in most crashes, there were no survivors, but she would have none of that.

So this was a chance for her emergency training to finally kick in, which it did, when she and her fellow flight attendant rolled the man out of his seat onto the floor of the plane and immediately began administering CPR — one of them breathing air into his lungs while the other pressed on his breast bone. For over an hour they carried this out, never knowing for sure whether or not they were saving the man’s life or merely manipulating a corpse. To carry this out for so long was exhausting work, and more than once during the process they contemplated giving up, but this is Marti we’re dealing with here, and “give up” is simply not in her DNA.

Marti also happened to know the pilot well — they worked together in an organization she had begun in her Los Angeles domicile called Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel — and he had ultimate respect and trust in Marti to call the shots. Like a lot of pilots back then, he was a former WW2 fighter pilot who took Marti’s cue and banked the plane around, heading to the nearest major airport. He called ahead and got the whole airport on lock down so there would be no delay in landing and taxiing to the designated gate where an emergency crew waited to immediately board the plane. Marti says that when they descended, it felt like he was dive-bombing an enemy carrier.

By the time the emergency crew was on board, the man had regained consciousness and was breathing on his own. The whole plane erupted in applause as they rolled him out on a gurney. But before they left, the man thanked Marti and her fellow flight attendant profusely for saving his life, and then he revealed to her an amazing thing. Trapped inside his unconsciousness, he could nevertheless still hear everything, including the debate as to whether it was worth it to continue, and the whole time he kept screaming inside himself, “Don’t give up on me. Please, don’t give up!”

I want you to start imagining that everyone you meet, whether they acknowledge it or not — whether they are a seeker or an avid atheist — somewhere deep down inside there is a voice screaming, “Don’t give up on me. Please, don’t give up!” Learn to listen for that voice and believe it, and whatever you do, don’t give up.

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6 Responses to ‘Don’t give up on me’

  1. Sandie says:

    God hears that same plea coming from deep inside each heart He created. I know He still hears it from me…almost daily. I hang on to Phil. 1:6 when the waters get high and rough, then I keep on through the storm.

  2. This was one of your best!

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    Luv today’s Catch! ❤

  4. mainemcq6 says:

    Showed me the need, personally, to give that same grace to our new president. After all, if God can turn my life around He certainly can his.

    • Inspired words!
      The same could be said about our country: we can either give up and let it “go to hell in a handbasket” as many cynics declare will happen.
      Or, we can each take an active role in reviving our debilitated – flat-lined? – nation through determined intervention and interaction until – and after – our plane has reached the tarmac.
      It’s easy to be an observer but it’s much more rewarding to be a helper.

      On a side note to John:
      Does Marti remember the names of her colleagues who assisted in saving this gentleman? It would be nice to acknowledge them by name as we thank to God for their presence at such a time so that Marti could relay this story several years later.

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