Saturday, June 4, 2011

Looking For Take Aways

            I’m the kind of guy who always asks, ‘why’.
            I want to say that I look for meaning in life, and it’s true, but it’s such a broad statement. I might intend one thing and you might understand something totally different. Some people, when they have a hankering for meaning, go out and buy something expensive. If that works for you, more power to you. It has never worked for me.
            But that’s not what I mean anyway. And I’m not talking about validation. I like a pat on the back as much as the next guy, but that’s not my point, either.
            So, what is my point? Let me try to illustrate. Last week I was almost t-boned by another car. We’re talking inches here. Apparently the lady driving the white minivan didn’t understand the concept behind ‘yield’ because she ran her yield sign just as big as you please. She didn’t even try to stop. She missed me by inches but I never heard the squealing of tires. For my part, I had to punch the gas to get out of her way, which took me all the way off the road and into someone’s yard. Okay. Stuff happens. Nobody got hurt. Move along, folks. But I kept thinking, is there something I can learn from that? Is there a lesson, a take away?
            I quickly realized the obvious: there are bad drivers on the roads. That’s nothing new. I once knew someone who honestly thought that ‘yield’ meant that she had the right-of-way. As I drove away, it also occurred to me that there is a right that supersedes the right to life. That right is the right to drive. It came to me as a little shock. I mean, say I had gotten t-boned and died in the accident. The insurance companies would have put a price on my life and paid my widow. The court would have found the lady in the white minivan guilty of failure to yield the right of way and fined her a couple hundred bucks. Two weeks later she would be back behind the wheel, and I, two weeks later I would be, well, I would still be dead. I’m pretty sure that’s how dead works.
            As interesting a realization as that might be, it wasn’t the real ‘take away’. The real take away was a reminder that life is a gift, pure and simple. Is that corny? I don’t care. Life is a gift and it can be taken away in an instant. We take it for granted. We shouldn’t. The people around me are gifts, too, even the ones I don’t like. I can learn from them how not to act. And finally, and you’ll think I’m still corny and I still don’t care, I don’t hug enough, I don’t affirm enough, and I don’t say ‘I love you’ nearly enough. That was the take away for me.
Thanks for your time


  1. Here's my takeaway from your takeaway, Chris: Gratitude is the antidote to whatever unpleasantness befalls us. You could have chosen to lug around a resentment for the driver who, in essence, forced you off the road. Instead, you were reminded to be grateful for the gift of your own life and the lives of the people you love. And in applying gratitude, you came out WAY ahead of the game. Glad you're still around, Chris.

    P.S. I pretty much drive as if others on the road have no idea what the rules of the road are. It's working so far. :)

  2. I don't think this sounds corny at all. And your take away is a good thought for all of us to remember.