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Purpose-driven life

"Purpose-driven life" Continued...

Issue: "Help on the inside," Aug. 12, 2006

But Jimeno's wife, Allison, was seven months pregnant with the couple's second daughter. The only thing he regretted, he told God, was "that I would never get to meet my new baby girl."

Time silently ticked away. McLoughlin sometimes moaned in agony. Jimeno's entire torso swelled and his thirst became unbearable.

Then, "I saw a figure coming to me," Jimeno said. "He wore a glowing white robe and a rope belt. I couldn't see His face, but I knew it was Jesus." Over the figure's left shoulder, he says, he saw an endless sea of waving tall grass and over the right shoulder, a lake. "I remember asking Jesus, 'If I get to heaven, can I have some water?'"

The figure, he says, was holding a bottle of it.

In the movie World Trade Center, the man in the vision reaches out and offers Jimeno the water. That didn't happen, Jimeno told WORLD, but he says the vision gave him something more important: hope.

"I had this resurgence of optimism, this resurgence of the will to fight." He didn't share with McLoughlin what he had seen, but told him, "We're going to get out of this hellhole."

Then, at about 8 p.m., the men heard a voice: "U.S. Marines! Can anybody hear us?"

Jimeno thanked God again.

He's still thanking Him. Not only for his rescue-three hours later, NYPD rescuers lifted Jimeno from the pit and rescued McLoughlin eight hours after that-but also for reinforcing his conviction that a positive outlook is essential. It is important to grieve, he said. But it is also important to remember the heroism, unity, and compassion poured out in the days that followed 9/11.

"That was one of the darkest days in world history," Jimeno said. "If we don't look at the positives that remain, we give the evil people who attacked us a victory. We need to show our children how to recover from tragedy, how to pick up the pieces."

For Jimeno, that included clarifying his priorities. "Today, I try to take time to be a better husband and father. When my little daughter, the one I wasn't supposed to see, says, 'Hey dad, I want to show you something,' sometimes I want to keep watching the soccer game on TV."

But he can always record the soccer game and watch it later, he said: "I can't get back those 10 seconds with my little girl."

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