“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight with no vision.” —Helen Keller
Nothing stays the same forever. Everything changes—sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly.
This past summer, I spent some time away from home. We visited family in Nebraska and South Dakota and enjoyed a few nights in Colorado. Our trip was lovely. I’m thankful to have such a family where even ten days together seems too short.
There were many enjoyable and memorable moments during our trip, but there is one 24-hour period that sticks out to me. In the span of one short day during our visit to South Dakota, three distinct events occurred.
First, I helped my 92-year old grandfather maneuver into his home in his wheelchair. Last December, while at work, he fell and broke his femur. His healing continues but with various setbacks. Doctors are confident he will walk again, but it will be another 5-6 months. In the meantime, he still works full-time—but with considerable inconvenience. This was the first time I had seen firsthand the full extent of his injuries.
Second, I drove past the home of Don Meyer. Don Meyer, a close family friend, was once the all-time winningest college basketball coach. One month ago today, at the age of 69, Don lost his battle with cancer. His cancer was first discovered in 2008 following a car accident that resulted in the amputation of his left leg. He is survived by his wife, Carmen, who now lives in their home alone.
Third, while driving to my brother’s house later that evening, I came upon an awful car accident with crushed automobiles, injured bodies, and deep pain. The scene was hard for anyone to witness. The physical and emotional pain will continue for the drivers—and extend almost certainly to their families as well.
24 hours. Three unique stories. Each with little in common except for one life-transforming thread: Sometimes events happen in the blink of an eye that change the course of our lives forever.
When we least expect it, tragedy can strike. And it often does, in an instant. With little to no warning, our lives are turned upside-down forever.
I was reminded this past summer that nobody is guaranteed their health for another day—it can be taken suddenly by accident or diagnosis. Nobody is guaranteed the presence of their spouse for another day. None of us are even guaranteed breath in the morning.
The foolish scoff at this pronouncement assuming tragedy will never strike. Those in denial will refuse to accept it or simply try to change the subject.
But those who recognize and accept the truth that life is fragile live their lives fully in light of it. (tweet that)
Those who understand life can be changed forever in the blink of an eye will seek to:
- Find joy and gratitude in their present blessings. They will recognize every good thing in life is a fragile gift.
- Remove fleeting pursuits. Our lives are too valuable to waste chasing and maintaining unneeded possessions.
- Overcome the past and not make assumptions about the future. Instead, they will live each day in the present.
- Make the most of every opportunity. Forgive who needs to be forgiven. Express love and gratitude to those who deserve to hear it.
- Live lives of significance. Each new day is an opportunity to make a difference. Don’t waste it.
Our lives are fragile. They can change in an instant. Live today in light of this truth—and carry no regrets.