In the Blink of an Eye

I was cruising home a few nights ago, when a young man dashed across the road. I slammed my foot on the brake and the car stopped inches from his waist. He stood there, frozen, wide eyed, shocked – A deer in headlights. My mind began to race. A deer in headlights, he’s in front of the car. He’s alive. I’m alive… I took a deep breath.

I looked at the deer, (seriously, this was a classic deer in headlights image) I wanted to get out of the car and slap him – What the hell were you thinking? I wanted to hug him – Thank God you‘re alright. I wanted to hug myself – I’m okay, nothing happened. I calmed myself down and when the man was safely on the other side of the street I started driving again.

Thank God nothing happened. Thank God I was not driving fast. Thank God the road was not busy. Thank God there was nothing behind me. Thank God I was not distracted. Thank God…

In the blink of an eye, things could have been different. I could have hit a man. I could have crippled him. He could have died. I could have been paralyzed or died too. The lives of both our families could have been changed forever.

I got home that evening and went about my routine as normal, not wanting to alarm anyone because nothing happened. After all, we avert accidents every day and we just fall back into our lives as if nothing happened. Although deep down, something is always awakened within us.

That close call taught me to be ever so grateful for the ‘near misses’. Instead of tucking my daughter in that night, I could have been at the police station. I could have been in jail today. I recognized that ‘near misses’ happen often enough in our lives to alert us to the things that we take for granted. Sometimes, I do drive too fast. I should remember that I share the road with others who may not be as careful. It was a powerful lesson for me that this happened while I was driving at a very moderate speed. And even as I write this today, I realize that I need to be grateful for where I am at this moment, because in the blink of an eye, my life could change.

Life is short… Pay attention. Enjoy the moments.

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