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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Only a Moment in Time**

Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey

*Chicago Tribune
August 12, 2011
as "Moments of time"

*Somerset, PA Daily American
August 13, 2011
as "Only a moment in time"
It was only a moment in time.

His son was now a teenager, entering into that age where relationships with parents could become difficult.  To be honest, the two had become somewhat distant.  The Dad was still coaching his son’s team, but the two rarely talked much off the field.  Suddenly, an opponent hit a sinking line drive towards the corner.  His son was sprinting towards the foul line and just at the right moment, he dove, snagging the ball in his glove.  The son came running off the field, his face split with a wide grin.  Dad held up his hand for a high five.  But the son, surprising both of them, ignored the hand and leaped into his father’s arms for a hug.  As they pulled apart, the two saw each other with all their fences down, their hearts wide open to each other.

It was only a moment in time.

They were in their 80s, a lifetime of that adventure called marriage behind them.  They had been going to the track at the local high school in the evenings to exercise.  As they walked along, suddenly she collapsed to the ground.  Despite all the efforts of bystanders and paramedics, she was gone.

It was only a moment in time.

He was so nervous.  He had wanted to ask her out for a long time, but fearing rejection, it took all the courage he had to finally ask.  To his shock, she said yes.  After all the anticipation, he was beginning to worry that she would get bored and leave.  Then suddenly, she looked up at him, and smiled.

It was only a moment in time.

She was alone.  Her husband was out of town on a business trip and she was in a new house in a new city with no friendships yet to develop.  She sat on the couch and stared at the wall, feeling sad and more alone than ever.  Suddenly, the dog jumped up beside her, and worked his way onto her lap.  He looked up and wagged his tail, then laid his head down and sighed contentedly.  Suddenly, she wasn’t alone anymore.

It was only a moment in time.

Life is a series of moments.  Some good, some bad, some tragic.  There are other times that become the culmination of days, weeks, or even months of planning and effort,  orchestrated towards a certain outcome.  As much value as we put on such long-term projects, our lives contain far more of those little moments; that breath of time when suddenly the world stops and everything changes.  We never plan for those moments, which gives them a spontaneity all their own.  Oddly enough, it is those transitory seconds out of the multitude of the ticks of time that tend to stick with us forever.

Years ago, I was league bowling on a Saturday afternoon in Independence, Missouri.  It was the fourth frame of the first game.  I got up on the approach and took a quick look to either side to make sure the other approaches were empty.  My left side was clear, but when I looked to the right, I suddenly forgot about bowling.  Leaping into my field of view was a vision of loveliness, a graceful girl with long, lustrous black hair about 20 or so lanes away.  Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to meet that girl.

It was only a moment in time.  Yet it was a moment that changed my life forever.  In that instant, I first laid eyes on the wonderful girl who would become my wife.  These days, I have trouble remembering appointments and where I put my motorcycle key.  But that instant some 35 years ago is as sharp and clear in my mind as if it had just happened.

The human mind is a strange and wonderful place; the human heart no less a conundrum.  Trying to figure it all out is a futile effort, producing nothing but a headache.  Time ticks by relentlessly, marking the rhythmic beat of life.  Each tick is priceless, each moment precious, because once they’ve passed by, they’re gone forever.  

We are a busy people, often too occupied for our own good.  But in the midst of the stresses and the strains, and the rushing around, life is still happening around us.

Take the time to look for life as it streams past.  So what if you’re late?

After all, it’s just a moment in time.
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