"Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same." ~
Patty Loveless, "How Can I Help You To Say Goodbye"
That Memorial Day weekend in 1998 was one of the best we'd ever had. We had laughed with friends and danced to Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's. Spent a glorious day swimming in a private stretch of the pristine San Marcos River with our kids and friends.
We were young and happy and blessed, living in Paradise in the Texas Hill Country, preparing to build our dream home. We thought the tough times were behind us.
But fifteen years ago tomorrow morning, the phone woke me. A nurse on the other end let me know Tom was lucky to be alive. He was in Brackenridge Hospital, preparing for surgery. She urged me to get there as fast as possible.
It had only taken a split second for us to be pushed along paths we didn't want to travel. Our lives changed. We ourselves changed.
But then, that's what journeys do to you, and what is Life but one long journey? How dull a trip would be if the scenery always stayed the same. Unfortunately, on every trip, there's good scenery and there's bad scenery.
The potential for change is constant. Some of it we have control over. Big decisions like dropping out of college. Getting married. Having children. Moving to a new town.
But even little ones can trigger huge changes. Having one more drink. Angry words you can't take back. An opportunity you let slip by without grabbing it. Saying "yes" when you should say "no", or the other way around.
Perhaps it's unfair that we can't control what other people do, even though their decisions can send us reeling. We didn't know the kid who hit Tom head-on that morning, but even if we did, we couldn't have stopped him from making one bad decision after another.
All we can really do is pray for guidance in our own decisions and be sure they are rooted in love, with a desire that God's will be done.
We can't waste our time worrying about the changes ahead of us. All we can do when the road turns unexpectedly is what we did back then...count our blessings and carry on, noticing the beauty on the new path before us. Because it's there.
When you find it, don't take it for granted, thinking it will be there forever. Relish it, cherish it, soak it up, because, after all, life's about changes. It can be no other way.
Happy 15th anniversary of your second chance, Tom!
Through the ups and down that have been, and the inevitable ones to come,
remember my love is constant.