A week ago 17-year-old Henry was a healthy, active kid with lots of friends, a close family, and the world at his doorstep. But early yesterday morning Henry died from severe injuries received last Sunday on a rain-soaked Atlanta road when another car lost control and slammed Henry's car into oncoming traffic. He held on for almost a week, with massive brain and internal damage. Though the result of the accident reached its conclusion in Saturday's wee hours, the point at which everything changed - for Henry, for his family, friends, and acquaintances - was the instant his car hit the other car.
That's how change - bad or good - happens, even when we're not paying attention or aware of some event a block, a city, a world away from us. In a blink. An instant. A nanosecond. A lottery win or a devastating investment loss taking us down another life-path - blink! A brilliant idea out of nowhere or a momentary lapse resulting in a serious mistake changing our careers - blink! One right word, one wrong word affecting a relationship forever - blink!
It makes for interesting after-dinner-and-several-glasses-of-wine conversation, but we'd live in constant paralysis if we thought too much about stuff like this. We do what we can, but we just have to get on with things, day by day the best we know how. But tucked way back in our brains, we know that everything can change in the blink of an eye.
This time last week, Henry was healthy and alive. So was that young woman at the high school in Bailey, Colorado. This week, families and friends are completely gutted and heart-broken. But in the same week, babies were born, new jobs acquired, folks who hated each other started talking again, fortunes made.