Andrew Palau is an evangelist. He is the son of an evangelist. He has his own daily radio program called Reaching Your World. Just because Andrew’s father is an evangelist, does not mean that Andrew automatically followed in his father’s foot steps. In fact, as Andrew will share with you, he struggled down a rocky road and had to find himself and God before he could become the man he is today. This is his story…The Secret Life of a Fool: One Man’s Raw Journey from Shame to Grace.
I applaud Mr. Palau for sharing his story with readers. He did not skim over parts. He just laid it all on the table. This made him more relatable to people. I think that by reading this book, Mr. Palau shows that there is still hope for people who have lost their way and need help from God to find their way back. Although, as much as I liked this book. I also did not have a hard time putting it down for a bit and than coming back to it. Mr. Palau never really preaches in this book. He just shares his story with some Bible scripture references. This book is worth your time.
FOUR SECONDS TO LIFE
Open your eyes, look within.
Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
SOMETHING WAS WRONG. We were going too fast. Or it was raining too hard—the pilots couldn’t see. What was
I knew that when there’s bad weather, pilots work the reverse thrusters extra hard, but something seemed off. I just couldn’t tell what. My eyes darted around the cabin from the other passengers to my family sitting in the seats on either side of me. Some passengers looked tense, some looked nonchalant, and some were even applauding the odd landing.
Are you kidding? You’re gonna clap for that landing? Confusion and doubt fired through my mind. I knew this runway. I knew there was only a chain-link fence between
the end of the pavement and the beginning of the Caribbean Sea.
Then it happened.
The impact was immense. My face slammed into the seat in front of me, gashing my forehead right above my nose. There was blood and pain and darkness.
Pitch black for three or four seconds, and then the lights flickered on. In the midst of the confusion, I felt as though I’d fallen asleep in a movie theater and awoken during a difficult scene. I couldn’t decipher fact from fiction. One moment
everything was clean and tidy and in its place. Then, in an instant, everything changed. It was just wires, panels, and luggage strewn everywhere.
My first thought was, I’m alive. The next thought was the sickening horror of it: I’m alive, but is anyone else alive—my boys, my daughter, my wife? In that moment you don’t want to know the answer. Everything was quiet. My heart sank, and then
leapt in my chest as movement came from under the pile of debris to my left. My boys were okay. I turned to find the girls alive as well. Next thought: Get out of here!
I could see some people beginning to move around. Most were still huddled in their seats. The dim emergency lighting flickered on, casting an eerie glow while rain blew into the exposed cabin. The massive 737 lay broken, the rain pounding
on the three pieces.
The seconds it took to figure out what happened seemed like an eternity. But then the slow motion of time caught up with the reality of the situation. People began to panic.
“It’s going to be okay!” I shouted. “Take it easy. Leave everything. Let’s just get out of here. Everyone, stay calm!” I tried to calm the situation but found little success against the mounting surge among the passengers that had turned to full panic. People began to realize what had happened. I helped my two boys, Christopher and Jonathan, out from the wires and panels on top of them.
Sadie, my two-year-old daughter, was in her car seat.
We never travel with a car seat. For all the times coming to Jamaica with the boys, we never brought it along. The one time my wife, Wendy, convinced me to bring it, this happens. And to think how frustrated and obstinate I had been about
I always thought, I have them; I can hold them. They’ll be okay. But in that instant I realized that nothing is safe and with all my strength I could never protect them from forces like a plane crash.
I think of what could have been if we had left the car seat behind. Wendy or I would have been holding Sadie. I think of my face—swollen and bleeding. If I had been holding her . . .
my mind flashes through this scenario and I shudder. I’m thanking God. I’m grabbing Sadie. I’m gathering my family. Rob, the soldier who sat behind me, is helping us out onto the wing. This is now. This is my reality.
But all the panic in the cabin didn’t last long. Rob took control.
“Okay. Take it easy, everyone. No pushing. Calm down and move toward the exits.” He delivered these lines as though he had experienced it all before. Rob was a hero in
the moment, a serviceman coming home to his family for Christmas. Now, serving us—the panicked and afraid.
I gathered my family on the wing and we stood looking out into the night. How far down was it? Was it ten feet?
Twenty feet? I couldn’t see. It was dark and rainy, but there I stood on an airplane wing with my family about to jump. I can’t believe I’m going to jump off the wing of this plane. But I’ve always been ready to survive. When my brothers and I were younger we had our little metal lunchbox that we turned into our survival kit. We were survivors. Right? I was a long way from that survival kit. Survival wasn’t such a cool and innocent thing now. It was simple necessity.
Before my eyes adjusted to the depth of field, Jonathan noticed that the wing was only one foot off the ground.
“What are we waiting for?” he asked.
I could see the landing gear and the jet engine on the right side had completely torn away. The plane lay on its belly and leaned to the right. We just had to step off the wing onto the jagged honeycomb rocks and sand.
Brilliant. The sand? Where were we?
I was laughing at my thoughts, crying through the rain.
Thank You, God. Thank You, God. Thank You, God.
We were among the first to step foot on land—confusion behind us but uncertainty before us. I just wanted to huddle and hold my family. My mind kept racing as the rain soaked us.
A memory from my childhood popped into my racing thoughts. It was a bizarre memory to be emerging at this moment: a memory of a vision I had at my grandma’s house when I was a boy. My cousins came over to play with my brothers and me. Everyone ran inside to get a drink. As I lingered behind and found myself alone in the large yard, my eye caught something in the sky. I looked up and saw something incredible and golden up above Portland’s West Hills. I could not tell if it was real or just my imagination playing games with me. It was also Easter weekend, which made everything seem even stranger . . . or maybe stronger?
Excerpted from The Secret Life of a Fool: One Man's Raw Journey from Shame to Grace by Andrew Palau, © 2012. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. http://www.worthypublishing.com/. Used by permission.