IT’S NOT “JUST” A FOOT
Traffic is moving swiftly and my car proceeds in the left lane, the “speed” lane, along with the melting pot of vehicles on the highway. The windows are up and the radio is silent. The only noises that can be heard are the thoughts bouncing around in my head. All of my troubles are tightly wrapped up for at least a few moments, as I consider the prospect of moving my car traveling at 55 mph just on foot to my left, into oncoming traffic. The reality that with one small movement, all of my troubles would come to an abrupt and tragic end seems surreal. I consider the pain, but this thought is fleeting as I know that the inevitable would be instantaneous. Then, the vision of my future, the mangled metal, the futile attempt to salvage a life that once was, stands before me. The thought that there could be more than one victim, in fact, there most certainly would be, keeps me steady in my lane and proceeding forward. I continue home passing bridges and barricades, gas stations and rivers, each providing their own opportunity for me to end the torment, the humiliation and the embarrassment caused by the poor, and even criminal, decisions of my past.
My vehicle pulls over to the side of the road and I stop my car, finding myself dripping with sweat and wondering why I’m still here. These thoughts came infrequently and were not limited to the car, but accompanied me on bike rides, hikes and trips near water. How easy it would be. Yet, the most cowardly act I could have ever committed in my life. These thoughts were locked away in a safe, never to be used, acted upon or brought into fruition. Thank God. It was those twelve precious inches that saved my life. The “foot”, my safety net of reason came down to two things, my wife and my daughter. As much as I knew that my problems would disappear in an instant, I just could not shake the notion that I could lose the two most precious thinks in the world. Life would certainly not be worth living without them, and deep down my soul convinced me that no matter what I had done, they would understand, and life as wonderful as it once was, in time would show its’ face once again.
It has been several years since I’ve thought about those twelve inches and fortunately, I no longer face this dilemma. Accepting responsibility for my actions, facing the humiliation of my poor choices and serving my time with dignity and purpose, has left me a better and wiser person. From some of the worst decisions and indiscretions in my life came the profound revelation that life is too precious to waste, and that no matter how bad you think things are, there is always a silver lining. The air is now sweeter, the sun brighter and the appreciation for life more profound. I will always remember that it’s not just a foot; it’s a life worth living.