Thursday, October 19
8 Seconds
Monday afternoon was a gray and dreary day in the Tennessee Valley. The rain began after lunch and never stopped. I love those kind of days most of the time, especially when I'm able to stay home. They beg for hot chocolate, with equal amounts of cocoa and whipped cream in my oversized mug. You KNOW how much I like my whipped cream;).

In spite of the weather, "the game must go on", so Thomas had football practice. It's nice to be a kid and actually have "permission" to play in the mud (although, as it turned out, most of their practice was indoors). Why is it his practice pants get dirty no matter what kind of practice they have? But I digress, and this isn't about that, so I'll move on.

He was one of the last teammates to be picked up, I had made a stop by the grocery store on my way. It was one of those "quick trips" that turned out to be ANYTHING but quick; it honestly looked like the weather savants had predicted "snow". In the south, just the thought of snow sends people scurrying en masse to the supermarket, frantically picking up the requisite bread and milk (evidently when it snows, man CAN live by bread alone). Check-out lines were streaming into the grocery aisles--even the self-scan lines--and it required aeronautical skills to maneuver your own cart through the human-connected-to-buggy obstacle course. OF COURSE, their was a young mother with one of those oversized, negative-turning-radius race car carts, two daughters riding, one son walking, middle daughter crying, loudly and inconsolably. While that's enough to send many over the edge (including me), I pitied her, and by "her" I mean mother AND child, they were both equally miserable....the mom, sheepishly muttering both frustrated excuses for her children's behavior and menacingly ordering them to settle down. No threats or bribes work at times like that, and I wanted to hold her daughter to give that mom a break (she was getting enough evil glares) and pre-empt the hide-tanning her daughter was probably gonna get in the car.

Finally, I was released from supermarket hell prison, goods intact (yes, bread and milk were among them), and headed over to get Thom. He called me when I was a block away, and we discussed exactly where the pick up point would be. I figured he'd be standing outside waiting on me, but he wasn't; I was slightly irritated because 1) the afore-mentioned grocery fiasco, 2) I needed to get home with groceries so we could inhale a quick dinner before the 3) meeting that was to begin at my house less than an hour from now.

The way only a kid who has nowhere to be can amble along, he managed to collect his bookbag and equipment and find his way to the car. I bit my tongue before saying something smart about him taking his own sweet time; he's always so eager to tell me the latest and greatest of his day, and I knew that my sarcastic remark would've been more about what preceeded getting there than him being on "kid time".

He immediately began enthusiastically recounting his day as we turned out of the parking lot into steady traffic. And then t i m e s l o w e d d o w n.

Ahead of us was a car, not going over 30 mph due to the traffic and road itself. We watched a lady pull out of a cross road and ram the front of the car and passenger door, pushing the car across the road (in the face of steady, on-coming traffic) and into a ditch. The lady has been at a complete stop, and yet still, her airbags inflated, her front bumper was ripped totally off, the man's door and front right engine were smashed in...his car immediately began smoking and you could smell a toxic smell, I imagined it was freon or something. He jumped out of his car rubbing his head, she opened her door, and walked slowly in shock towards him. Two other drivers, one apparently a nurse, were out of their cars quicker than those in the accident, one calling 9-1-1 and the other waving me to move ahead and get out of the way (he wasn't so nice).

I debated stopping anyway, despite the man flagging me on, but there were so many by this point scurrying around, I reluctantly accelerated past....I wasn't even sure about what I had just seen. It wasn't a "spectacular" accident but it was surreal watching it unfold. Thomas was immediately recounting his version about what he had taken place...and all I could think was...

It was HIS side...8 seconds sooner, and she would have hit us...HIM. Would the impact have hurt him? Broken bones? Worse?? What if he IS too small for the front and side airbags, would they have helped or hurt? Would the timing have been that those in the on-coming lanes would have front-ended us, too? I reached over and touched Thomas and said, "That would've been could have been YOU!" and he said, " wasn't. I'm fine...don't worry." And I prayerfully said and meant, "Thank. God." I was thankful for his delay in getting his stuff together and not being at the curb waiting. "Thomas time" kept us safe.

In an instant I was reminded that life is short, but oh, so sweet...and it's intended to be LIVED...and I can never tell the people in my life "I love you" too often.

And then we got home and told our little tale and ate our sandwich dinner and had our meeting. Business as usual. Nothing extraordinary (well, until the lights went out, but that's another story....).

Carpe diem little or carpe diem big, but whatever you do.......Carpe! Diem!

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, October 19, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (15)

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Karmyn R said...

WOW - What a story and it just goes to show:

God works in mysterious ways -

What a story.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Vicki said...

Robin I know that feel. You put it into words in such a perfect way.

last month I was sitting in the dentist office and a truck drove through the room I was sitting in. Missed me by 8 feet. The officer said the truck was going 65 mph when it hit.

it almost got me. That's all I could think. I was there with myMom and she kept repeating all day, "Ohh Vicki" and then would pat my hand. Moms stay the same.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

K, Timing is everything, huh? And, yeah, I'm thankful for a God who's still at work...

Vicki........WOW...unbelieveable. I don't think I've ever had that close of a call. Was anyone hit? What about the driver? Did you write about it? I'll be over soon to check it out. It's so easy to get bogged down in the "What Ifs" instead of the "What Is"...hmmm, just one letter difference, but a WORLD of difference. I'm thankful for the 8 feet that separated you from a much more tragic story.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Wendy aka Cheeky said...

I can't tell you how many times I was in a "near miss"....and every single time I am aware of the angel on my shoulder looking out for me

At October 19, 2006, Blogger willowtree said...

That was lucky (fate for the philosophers or god's will for the believers). I remember one time when a dingo ate my wait, come to think of it, I'm not sure that actually happened to me.

I know how you like people to prove that they read the whole thing (it would be easier if they weren't darn long, kidding). So here's a couple of thoughts.

Thought 1. There are two things that really piss me off in supermarkets, a) mothers with unruly children, but even more b) people who give them evil looks. Give them a break! Do you think they want to be in that situation? I don't even have kids and I sympathise.

Thought 2. I did a time management course years ago, and one of the things that I took away from it was that the first 3 minutes of an encounter sets the tone for the encounter. Whether its a 30 minute meeting, when the hubby comes home from work, or picking up the kids. Your approach is the approved one, start off friendly, it's easy to mention later that he needs to be ready to go when you get there.

So remember this when you feel like biting someone's arse straight away.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Swampwitch said...

A close call for sure. Glad you are safe. Now, after looking at your legs/feet at WT's I suggest to take the time to go get waxed and have a pedicure. Don't forget to wax the toes, too. AARGH.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

I love how you view this: as an encouragement to live.
I read The Living End by Lisa Samson about a woman unexpectantly widowed. I told Chris about every two minutes through tears, "I love you."

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

Oh, and WT - great advice with the 3 minute thing. I'll have to keep that in mind.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger Susan in va said...

Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."


At October 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His timing IS perfect.
Often, when we use phrases like, "all things work together for good," or "God knows", we say them lightly, or as a brush off (oh, well, it wasn't such a big deal, after all "all things...").
But, when life counts, when real life is involved & when we can say it without trying to sound "pithy", isn't it good to know that God is in control, He does know all things & His way is perfect?
Thankful, with you, that His timing was perfect. Thankful, too, for your safety, Vicki.
Great verse reminder - Ecc. 3:1 -- our times are in His hands (such hope)

At October 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, Robin -- I am so glad that Thom 'doodled' arounhd getting to the car.

I think it is awesome that you didn't glare that the mother in the grocery store. Sometimes people are so busy with they own things that they don't recognize that someone is having a hard time -- even with a 'simple task' of buying groceries...which can become very discouraging when you have to shop with your kiddos.

At October 19, 2006, Blogger SongBird said...

What an amazing post! Thank you for sharing with us.

At October 20, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

Cheeky, I'm thankful you're still with us :).

WT, I'm impressed (particularly b/c you DON'T have kids)...and yeah, sounds dead on to me...the first moments DO set tone (now if I can just, practice, that!).

Thanks, know @ those close calls...

Heather, do I need to add it to my list? Sounds moving.

Susan and LCO, I almost used that scripture in this post, lol. Great minds...! ;)

Eph2810, Loved the way you put that ("doodled") :). Yeah, I think when I was younger, maybe before kids and when I was a lot ...hmmm...less patient? I might have been a glarer :(. I hope not; now I just feel their pain--everybody's!

Thanks Songbird, I need to come see ya :), it's been a while

At October 21, 2006, Blogger Pamela said...

I read this at work ... and meant to comment when I got home.
Over the years we have had experiences where we missed catastrophe by moments because someone or something stopped us.

Last summer I pulled out from church (of all places) and headed home behind a pick up truck. Usually I'm 60 mph and trying to pass the slow jo-s - but something caught my eye. I think a bird... and I slowed down.. to look and got distracted and didn't resume my speed. The pick up by that time had left me quite a ways behind. Suddenly a huge extending ladder came flying out and came tumbling head on down the road at me. I was able to stop in time and it missed me by a good 50 feet. I knew the distraction was purposed.

Your sons distraction was purposed.

At October 21, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

Amen, Pam....let it be...


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Married to my college sweet-heart :)...three GREAT kids I'm not selling to the circus today...I LOVE to laugh (& smile often) to read & cook, hate to shop (unless the store is very small and doesn't leave me dazed and confused). I'm scared of flying so although I'd like to travel more, I don't.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find life in my 40s to be an amazing time of transformation & discovery--of self, others, creation and the Creator.

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A Pensieve is a stone basin.... [One] can extract his or her own memories and place them in the Pensieve, especially to relieve the mind when it becomes too flooded with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within...

A Pensieve first appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

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