First minute: Two cars collide.
Second Minute: Her car comes over the hill. Life changes.
It’s funny how we never think of the things that make us run early or late, the fortune of life that shines on us or brings hard days. The two minutes for me today began in rain. I love rain. Especially the rain of today; it’s a gentle, soaking rain. Not so much that sheets of water are falling on my newly seeded lawn, but enough that you can hear it along with the music as I write. The back screen is open (somewhere my husband is mentally checking to make sure the heat is off) and there is a slight cool breeze across the trees and into the ivy that runs up my outside wall. I love the rain.
In those same moments this morning, my BFF/sis D was the witness of an automobile accident as she was driving near her home in the misted, green mountains of North Carolina. More appropriately, she was on the other side of a hill when the accident happened. She was taking her son Austin to school, always running a minute late, and had just crested the mountain road to find what happened just seconds earlier. Smoke plumed. Fear rose. Would anyone else come over the mountain in the mist while she was trying to talk with emergency and check the men in the car? How much danger was she in, and how brave she is to run – not walk – but run to help “a stranger.”
And what of that second minute that kept her out of harms way? I wonder what book or juice box had her running just a moment off her normal time. If Austin was playing with his new hedgehog or eating slowly – just by one minute. A minute earlier, in the road between here and there, two cards collided in a moment of twisted metal, smoke and sound. Four lives, eight tires, two engines, one moment…just one minute ahead. It is a five lane road, a quiet highway leading to her house on the mountaintop. Normally, it’s the most peaceful, serene landscape. It’s echoes of beautiful sunrises across the blue misty mountains. This particular morning, without another person in sight, four lives ended in the blink of an eye.
I wonder about the four men in those cars, left with my loving blonde sis trying to do anything she could to keep them alive. My heart aches for them, aches for her witness to their last moments. The helicopter landed, the medics came, the police arrived. I wonder if they left the coffee on or a candle burning, just planning to run up to the store for a moment in the gentle rain. I wonder if they were headed home. I wonder who is at home getting slightly annoyed that they haven’t called yet. I wonder if there is an employer somewhere, thinking, “what is up with him?” A loved one, a child, a wife of many years, a new bride?
I wonder what their last goodbye was like, not realizing that this was the moment.
This was that moment that you had to tell them I love you, I’m sorry for, I didn’t mean….
We live in this illusion that this isn’t the last day of rain. I cleaned my house this morning, thinking about those four men, and how much I would simply miss in life if I were to die on my way to school or on my way home at 9 tonight – in the same rain. How much I love the sounds and the sights of the people, our home, my husband, my daughters. It’s such a beautiful thing, life. Often we live it in spite of it’s beauty, ignorant of a precious moment of now…forsaken over a worry from yesterday, a concern for a tomorrow that may never come.
I love the rain. I love the sound of it, the feel of the carpet against my bare toes, the click of the keys as I write this humble letter to you – I love it all. I love the sound of the music that soothes my aching soul, the memories that Ive kept, the images that I pull to mind. If I have one regret, it’s not teaching the people that have touched my life what I know now – that the key to inner peace is loving the you, the life that you’re in. Being wholly present, saying what is true.
No one survived the accident that was one minute ahead of my soul sister and my nephew. I feel guilty that I am glad she was the second of the two minutes. I am reminded in my prayers though…in the end, no one survives life, no one gets out alive with this body intact.
It’s your faith that carries you on.
Without faith and passion, hope and understanding, there is no life. I think of my own time here alone this morning, and reflect on how blessed and fortunate I am. I love my husband, my daughters. I love my life. There is honestly no telling which day is my last – but just in case this was it, I wanted to say with all the hope, light, and understanding I have .…. I love you.
Live your life with passion, not fear.
Talk to your children, your spouse, your friends. Really listen.
Study all you can, enlighten your soul with hope.
Say “I am sorry,” and be the leader of peace in your world.
Take time. You have time.
Be there. Be in the now.
Love relentlessly, without conditions.
Love you. It starts with loving you.