In the middle of last week, I was driving to work at 7:45 a.m., heading south on Alabama 21/U.S. 431 and turning right onto U.S. 78.
A tractor-trailer truck in front of me hit a car heading west. The surreal feeling of being out of control swept over me. Then, my feelings turned to horror as I saw and heard the truck crunch into three other vehicles. Other drivers, who were less likely to faint than I was, had already pulled over, so all I did to help was to dial 911. I was reminded how precarious life is.
During the weekend, I was shopping at a department store at the Oxford Exchange when a vaguely familiar man passed by me. When I asked him his name, he told me and, in that instant, recognized me, too. I had been his teacher 35 years ago when he was a first grader. We had not seen each other since. He is in his 40s and has an adult offspring of his own and also a teen-ager. He seemed as happy to see me as I was to see him. I was reminded how full of surprises life is.
Sunday was a day full of emotions. A friend left me a voicemail message during worship services. In it she said her husband was not doing well in a hospital’s intensive care unit. I called her afterward and received an update that his doctors felt he likely will recover just fine. She was encouraged by those words. I was reminded of how life, love, and hope are intertwined.
Later on Sunday afternoon, my fellow church members threw a baby shower for a friend’s imminent delivery. As I watched her open her gifts, I remembered attending her mother’s shower before her birth. I was reminded of how fast life passes.
Also on Sunday, I hosted a Thanksgiving meal at my home for family members. My house was clean, decorated for Christmas (a miracle), and smelled of squash dressing and green beans. I was excited about kicking off the holiday season with a celebration of thanksgiving. Then, one of my sons, who lives out of town, called just before lunch and said his wife was in an emergency room with either appendicitis or a tubal pregnancy. Our mood quickly grew somber, but we proceeded with the meal. Our prayer of thanksgiving included a plea for God’s protection for my daughter-in-law. We learned, by the meal’s end, that my daughter-in-law would be fine, but that she had been pregnant. I was reminded what a counterbalance of emotions life can be.
Such is the way life goes – always an up-and-down journey. The rarity, I suppose, is when life moves forward on a given level for any length of time. It is also a glad-to-be-alive, what-will-happen-next, take-things-as-they-come experience. I can recount friend after friend whose lives have been altered, either favorably or unfavorably, in recent days. Isn’t it wonderful that, through all of these combined events, we gain perspective, which allows us to cope with all that comes our way?
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