Life Can Change Dramatically In an Instant
It all happened so fast, and yet it seemed to play out so slowly. On June 5th, 1970, my Dad had just picked me up from a year-end eighth-grade party at a friend’s house. It was one of those awkward boy-girl parties when you tried to dance for the first time without looking like a fool.
As we were heading home, we came upon an intersection that was quite familiar to us, just 75 yards from my Dad’s accounting office. Everything in Western Pennsylvania was built on a hill — thus the name of the suburb in which I lived — Penn Hills (about 10-12 miles east of Pittsburgh).
We did not have a stop sign, but the cross traffic did. On this particular night, shortly before midnight on a Friday, the headlights of a cream-colored Mustang came flying down the road to our left. I could see from my vantage point in the front passenger seat that the Mustang was not going to stop. My Dad was already into the intersection when it became clear that a violent collision was about to take place.
Bam! The Mustang hit the left front fender of my Dad’s light blue Plymouth Fury. Of course back then, we didn’t wear seat belts, and air bags were years away from conception, much less production. Fortunately, cars back then did have safety glass, which would crack but not break. This was a good thing because the top of my head hit the windshield with considerable force. I did not lose consciousness, so I was able to watch as the Mustang careened over a retaining wall and into the backyard of a house at the intersection.
Shaken, but not seriously injured, I remember running my hand through my hair and feeling tiny bits of glass fall to the ground like a bad case of dandruff. I was certain that the driver of the Mustang was badly injured, if not dead. My Dad had the presence of mind to rush down the hill and check on him. Aside from a cut on the bridge of his nose, he was okay, but he had been drinking and was obviously impaired.
Fortunately, we all survived with little more than a few bumps and bruises, but it was an early reminder for me about the fragile nature of life. One minute, I was celebrating at a party with friends. The next minute I was in a car that was broadsided in what could have been a fatal accident.
Life is so precious, yet so fleeting. As I look back on the night, which I do from time to time, I am astonished at all that has happened in my life since that time, and how fortunate I was to come out of the accident virtually unscathed. How different my life might have been had I been seriously injured, or lost my Father on the fateful night.
What I do know, is that if I had lost my life that night, I would have found myself in the arms of Jesus because I was fortunate enough to be exposed to His Word and accept Him as my Lord and Savior, even though I probably didn’t understand all of the implications at the time.
In 2 Samuel, Chapter 14, Verse 14, we find comfort and clarity with this passage: “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.”
This provides hope for all of us, but we really can’t wait until tomorrow to make our commitment to the Lord, nor can we delay in sharing our faith with others in an effort to make them aware of the Good News of salvation. There is a sense of urgency to every day. So let us take nothing for granted because life in this world could end in an instant. We want to be sure that our ticket to heaven is punched before it’s too late.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed!