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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The next half second

DISCLAIMER: Over the last several weeks, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I've taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.

I was entering my church office in Douglas, Georgia. It was a Wednesday night just a few weeks after the accident. In my hand were pictures of our family van, destroyed by the collision from that Friday afternoon. My sister, Tonda, and her husband, Keith, had driven me to the local junkyard to see the van and to try and piece together what had happened the afternoon of the accident. While there, we had taken some snapshots for insurance purposes and for the sake of history.

While standing at the door with my keys, I handed the photos to a dear friend of mine, Gene. Gene is a super smart guy--a graduate of Georgia Tech and the president of a chemical company in South Georgia. I unlocked my door and turned to face Gene as he flipped through the pictures. I could tell from his wrinkled brow that he was giving these pictures some serious thought.

"What are you thinking, Gene?" I asked. I knew him well enough to know his wheels were turning.

"How fast were you and the other vehicle going that night?"

"Both were clocked at between 55 and 60 mph. Why?" I asked. He was studying the pictures again. "What are you thinking?" I asked again.

"Do you realize that at that speed, one half second sooner or later to that intersection and this wreck never happens? One half of a second and your wife and your son are still here."

That phrase has become the mantra of my speaking and a guide stone for my life. One half second. Have you thought about how the next half second could change your life? Have you thought how one half second could impact countless people around you, some who you don't even know? One half second of careless words can tear down the self-esteem of your child or leave your wife an emotional wreck. One half second of cutting corners could leave someone exposed to danger. One half second of distraction could cost you your life or someone else's.

On the other hand, one half second could brighten some one's day, change their outlook on life, begin a life-changing relationship or save someone years of heartache. It could help someone be on time for an interview or keep them from a damaging decision. One half second.

That one half second cost me the lives of two people I love tremendously AND opened me to a door of opportunity for changing the lives of others. The next half second could do the same for you. What will you do with the next half second? I suggest you start by giving all of your half seconds to God...