While driving to a tennis match recently, traffic was abruptly halted. I was on the beltway around the city in the morning commuter rush, so I expected delays, but this was a complete stop. I couldn’t see or hear any emergency vehicle sirens, so I wondered what had happened. In my gut, I knew it wasn’t something good.
Sure enough, as I inched forward just another fifty yards, I saw three cars pulled over to the side. I cringed as I saw the front car upside down, completely resting on the roof, with the windshield and windows smashed out. I immediately prayed for the people involved.
Please, Lord, let them be safe. Somehow, by Your mercy, let them be ok.
When I arrived at my match, only one other teammate had already gotten there. She must have been just a minute ahead of me in traffic, and she was both shaken and relieved. Although she had not seen the accident happen, she must have been very close behind. She was given a view of the woman in the upside-down car crawling out of her driver’s side window. She was alive and, miraculously, seemed to be without major injury. My friend saw her stand up and walk around in disbelief and horror as she was processing what had just happened. She was relatively ok, and most importantly, alive.
I felt a wave of relief come over me as I heard this. She was alive! Thank goodness!! Almost immediately, my thoughts turned to wonder. I wonder if she’s a mother or wife. I wonder if she works and what she does. I wonder if she’s connected in her neighborhood or church, and I wonder if she knows Jesus. And then I think…
Everything in her life will likely change after this.
We often see that happen when someone narrowly escapes death or tragedy, don’t we? They count themselves as fortunate, and their perspective changes. Somehow, they appreciate each and every second, relationship and experience just a little bit more. They appreciate the “second chance” it appears they’ve been given. They want to make the most of “borrowed time,” if that’s what it is. Regardless, their appreciation for life and everything in it is greater, and they don’t take things for granted like they once did.
I wonder why that pattern is so common? Is it just human nature to take things for granted over time? Would it be different if we knew we only had a short time to live? Could we sustain the appreciation for each moment then?
It makes me think. What about you?
We can’t predict our future, and frankly, our world is a bit topsy-turvy and unsettled these days. We’re suffering through record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Innocent lives are being taken unexpectedly from violence, terrorism and mental illness. Disease, poverty and wars are prevalent around the globe. It’s unprecedented, and it seems to me like a wake up call.
Seriously, let’s wake up!
I say all this not to scare anyone. I’m not trying to be prophetic and predict the end of times. I realize we’re not going to know the exact day and time…and at the same time, it does feel like we’re being shaken a bit.
Are we supposed to be getting a message from this?
Could it be that we are being given hints that time is, indeed, precious; that NONE of us should be taking it for granted?
If you knew – for certain – that you only had a short time to live, would you live it any differently than you are now? Seriously, take a moment and really think about that.
Would you spend your time differently?
Would you say something that needs to be said to someone?
Would you choose love in cases where today you aren’t?
Would you create memories rather than wealth?
Would you be more focused and attentive to people and relationships, and would your technology seem less imperative?
Would you put thought into eternity?
I go back to thinking about the woman who escaped the car accident last week. I’ve got to believe she’s appreciating every breath she is taking today. I’m certain her gratitude is soaring, and she may be seeing little things she’s never even noticed before. Her life was spared, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s now better than it’s ever been?
She was not only given life, but she was was given perspective…and a second chance to use it.
What if we we’re all being given the same gift? What if we’re being shaken out of our sleepy stupor? What if we cherished and made the most of every day, every relationship, every moment?
Would it all look different?
I think it’s time we wake up and see…
Join me. Let’s spur each other on and see what happens…