A second can change everything.
Yesterday my husband and kids were meeting me at my parents’ home for dinner. They arrived in a jumble, the story spilling out of my children in fragments before Nicholas was able to park the car and come into the house:
PyelotSon: “An idiot/jerk almost hit us!” he said with a nervous giggle. (Sidenote: Yes, he’s picked up those derogatory terms from a couple of my times at the wheel.)
CutiePyeGirl: “We almost crashed!”
The chatter continued, and it took us some unraveling to figure out the chain of events when Nicholas walked in a moment later, shaking with adrenaline. He filled in the details in rapid succession: They were driving along the straight stretch before turning into my parents’ driveway when an oncoming car drifted into their lane. Nicholas honked (UK: hooted) the horn and the probable-young-person-who-was-texting reacted quickly, because he or she drove around my family – he/she moved onto the sidewalk/grass on the passenger’s side of my family’s borrowed van – to avert a head-on collision.
In this instance, we were saved. We were mercifully and miraculously saved from what could have been a life-taking or life-altering crash. I have my family intact, and the thought has kept me from sleeping as I recount the what-if’s, thinking about hospitals or funeral homes and write-offs of borrowed vehicles.
But we aren’t always kept from harm in this fallen world, for every day some form of sin, disease, or injustice seeps into our lives. I don’t know why God cushioned my family yesterday when other families lose sons and daughters, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers to accidents or cancer or abuse. But I’m grateful. I give thanks, mindful of the fragility of life, when a second can change everything.
Today I return thanks to God for saving me and mine. I want to be like the leper who returned to thank Jesus for healing him. The gift of the present moment feels all the more precious, the morning after the night before that didn’t change our lives forever.