Wondering if there will be another breath before sharing one

By Randall Franks

I struggled to catch a breath as I leaned up on my pillow, trying to find the next clear bit of air and pull it into my lungs.

I often wondered if there would be another breath but there was an endless desire to keep trying.

As a child, like many others I suffered from a multitude of ailments that made my stay on this earth sometimes tenuous.

One of the results of the multitude was asthma that left me with weak lungs that often seize up making exerting myself a dance with living on the edge.

With the caring effort of my mother and dad, rubbing me down in mentholated rub, beating my back to loosen my lungs, keeping a house as clean from irritants as possible, I know my survival would have been unlikely.

There came a morning when I was about five that I did not awake. I relay the account as shared with me, since I was unable to experience it from a conscious prospective.

After calling my name several times to raise me from my slumber with no avail, my late mother came in to find me laying in my bed, the sight scared her, her boy there, still, staring up at the ceiling, lifeless. In her words, “Your eyes were set back in your head and you were not breathing.”

She grabbed me up wrapped in the quilt that I was sleeping in, threw me over her shoulder, picked up the kitchen phone calling the doctor’s office, saying, “I’m bringing him in.” She jumped into our blue 1964 Chevy Malibu and as she said, didn’t stop for a single light as she drove the five miles to his office.

She rushed through the waiting room and the receptionist jumped up, opened the door realizing I was in distress and the immediately took me into an exam room placing me on the table.

The doctor questioned why she didn’t take me to the emergency room. Her reply “He’s here now, do something.”

So he did, with only what he had on hand he started trying to revive me and sent the nurse to get a shot of some kind.

He administered the shot and then turned to mom and said, “All we can do now is pray.”

That’s what they did, pray over my lifeless body with no signs of hope.

After a few moments of prayer, I began to breath and the life that was gone was restored. What accomplished this? The doctor’s sharing his skill with limited means; or the prayers of them standing above my lifeless body calling out to God to not allow the senseless death of a toddler.

Whatever it was, their faith, medicine, it allowed me to breath again, and grow, struggle, and cling to life again and again, as I battled more childhood adversities carrying me to adulthood. He allowed me to learn, and work, and give, and pray for others. He has allowed me to serve.

For me that day was God’s miracle of life that He gave me initially and He chose to give it back to me because that five-year-old had something more to do for Him.

Once again when I was in my twenties, a water-borne illness had me near death with no medical means of improving my situation. It was mother’s unceasing prayers by my hospital bedside that drew me back to health.

There are two times when I know God intervened in the course of the frailness of the human body and allowed me to continue.

Each day, I know that I fail in using the opportunities He affords, and sometimes I find myself bogged down in my own hopes and desires. But then I remind myself, my presence here is His gift to me, that He has given more times than I can count or even know about.

I try to remember that is my work here to give back and so I pray I always remember and act accordingly. Prayer is a gift – use it, give it, share it.

Randall Franks is an award-winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” now on WGN America. His latest 2019 # 1 CD release, “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia,” is by the Share America Foundation. He is a member of the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is “A Badge or an Old Guitar: A Music City Murder Mystery.” He is a syndicated columnist for and can be reached at