Sunday, May 13, 2012

Banana Split Seconds

We plan. We set goals and we create paths to achieve them. We save for a rainy day. We set out on a career path and work hard every day. We create retirement funds and find ways to invest in them. We take precautions and we try to live a clean life. We put our faith in a higher power and we allow ourselves to be humbled when we are shown mercy.

We chart a course and we use our navigation tools to steer the ship. We do everything according to plan and at times, we even get to coast for awhile. And then in one split second, everything changes. It could be an accident, it might be a diagnosis. It can be the loss of a friend or the loss of our financial security. The stock market crashes, the car crashes. The heart stops beating, the heart gets broken.
A young man named Reid Fisher died this week. He was riding his bicycle on Folly Road outside Charleston, SC. His bike collided with a car which caused him to lose control. An oncoming car was unable to avoid him. From the details I read, it was a gruesome accident. Passersby stopped and ran to his aid. They attempted CPR, but to no avail. In a split second, Reid Fisher’s life was taken. In that same split second, the lives of his family and friends were also changed forever.

There is a strange and ironic twist to this story. Last October, Reid Fisher’s life was changed in a split second. As he drove along that same Folly Road late one night, he hit a pedestrian with his car.  Twenty-five year old Beau Froehlich had left the Skinful Halloween party and was crossing the road to get into the car of a friend. He suffered severe head trauma and broken bones. After a week at MUSC in a coma, he succumbed to those injuries. Reid Fisher was charged with felony DUI.
Two young men, both in the prime of their lives. Two young men whose lives were changed, and eventually ended, as a result of a split second action. Two young men who will never achieve their goals or navigate their course. Two young men who left behind shattered family, friends and loved ones.

Banana split seconds can happen without warning and may be completely out of our control – fate, divine intervention, karma. We look up and ask “Why me?” But sometimes banana split seconds are a result of our own pre-meditated actions – getting behind the wheel after drinking, speaking or acting out of anger, betraying someone we love. You can’t take back those moments, and the aftershocks sometimes roll on for a lifetime. And there are also times when banana split seconds impact our lives in a positive way – choosing to rush to the aid of someone in need, reacting quickly in a crisis, letting your conscience guide you when temptation steps in your path. Those are the ones we react to by saying, “How lucky am I?”
You can’t plan for your banana split seconds. There’s usually no warning before they occur. They happen and you react, and when the dust settles you survey the damages or the blessings. If you choose to believe in yourself, live life according to the golden rule, and surround yourself with positive energy then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have more positive banana split seconds. Those are the ones with the extra whipped cream and the cherry on top. Savor them, because you never know when the next one will come along.

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