Today I had one of those "life flashing before your eyes" moments. Driving to pick up my kids from school this afternoon a commercial truck ran the stop sign and almost drove right into me as I was turning left in front of him. I screamed. I swerved. I am not quite sure how neither one of us managed to hit anything. There was no time for horns. And when it was all said and done we both continued onward as if nothing happened, even though something did. Adrenoline still pumping, hands quivering, tears filling eyes, I took a deep breath trying to pull myself back together. What could have happened, but didn't. The split second reactions that somehow saved me from impact. And I'm fine. Just shaken up. Reminded how it all can change in a split second. How everything we have, even our lives, can be altered, even gone, in an instant. Just one person neglecting to see a stop sign, a bad choice made, a missed step, or a moment of weakness. How there is a cause and effect to everything we do. That we cannot take back words said in anger, an attitude, or even a "first". There are no do-overs. Second chances and grace are a beautiful gift, but they do no erase what's already been done.
I know all about forgiveness. I believe in letting things go. Sometimes it's the very thing we need forgiveness for that is the catalyst for changing our hearts. It's the thing God often uses to save us. To bring us to Him.
So in this time of giving thanks; as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, the One who came to save us all; let us remember to appreciate all that we have, to not take people for granted, and to leave a legacy of love and kindness. That we would live our lives mindful of the choices we make. How one bad decision or even something out of our control, can alter all we hold dear.