Ever tried to outrun your thoughts? Today, while sitting in the car dealership, I sat four feet away from an I'm-retired-this-is-my-way-to-keep-busy senior gentlemen. I watched him pace back and forth waiting to serve the next customer. Nothing out of the ordinary until I watched him drop to his knees in the grips of a stroke.
He couldn't speak, was disoriented and helpless. In a matter of 5.5 seconds, my thoughts whirled. 'Who's calling 911? Where is the defibrillator? I hope his In Case of Emergency answers. Dang, I changed purses and my CPR kit is in the old purse. Wait, is it a heart attack or stroke? There's a little girl next to me crying as she watches this. Oh, I wish I could cry. His name is Fred. I saw it on his shirt. Fred is probably a grandad. The fire dept will get here fast. They are close. God, please cover Fred.'
That's a habit writers have, the ability to mentally whirl in nanoseconds. It's a gift and a curse. We assign stories to people's lives, even if we don't know you, especially if we don't. The first responders arrived, and within minutes, Fred was on his way. I'm sure Fred woke up this morning with a to-do list. We all have things we want to do in a day lists, regimented or loosey goosey. And, I'm sure Fred's list didn't include a terrifying, fight-for-your-life moment. Fred spent the rest of the day in my head and heart. I planned to run 10 miles today before I spent a much longer time in the dealership. So, I settled for a three mile run to exorcize Fred and other noise in my head. Fred could've been any one of us - the recipient of a health-induced timeout. Nothing is promised. You may not get to apologize or forgive or try it again tomorrow. For the first time, I broke the nine-minute mile mark. I almost outran my thoughts, but along the way I prayed that Fred is recovering and surrounded by his In-Case-of-Emergency people.
Live in moments! Take care of yourself and those around you. Chase that dream today.