The Moments Of Truth

The Moments Of Truth

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“Some years ago, on a quiet evening just after dusk, Michael started to back his car into a parking space on a city street when the driver of the car parked behind him honked his horn. Michael stopped and checked behind him to see what was the matter but could find nothing to amiss; it was a legal space, and he had a right to park there. Assuming that the man could not be honking at him, he continued pulling into the space.

The fellow honked again and flashed his lights. ‘What’s going on?’ Michael asked himself. A little irritated and puzzled, he put on the brake, got out of the car, and walked over to the driver’s side window. ‘Excuse me,’ he asked, ‘is there a problem here?’

Michael froze as the man raised a twelve-gauge shotgun barrel to his face. For one instant, he didn’t know whether the man was going to shoot him – whether this was his last breath, his last moment on Earth. Needless to say, it was no longer a quiet evening.

After another long instant, the man just said, ‘Get your car out of here.’

Michael felt a moment of profound relief and elation. He was probably going to live another day. ‘Yes sir,’ he said, getting back into his car and quickly pulling away. As he drove off, he noticed another man backing out of a nearby liquor store with a shotgun in one hand and a sack in the other; apparently Michael had been blocking the getaway car.

This incident affected Michael deeply. Not just because it was frightening. As the hours and days passed, he relived the moment many times – staring down that gun barrel, wondering if in the next instant that man would relieve him of everything above his shoulders.

And he asked himself, ‘If I died, suddenly, right now – do I feel complete? Have I accomplished all I set out to do? What have I postponed until tomorrow? Is there anyone I still need to forgive, or to ask for their forgiveness? What old business have I left unfinished?’

When Michael told me about this incident and how his life had changed as a result, I understood even more deeply that there are no ordinary moments. It took a man with a gun to drive the point home – that each moment is precious; that each moment counts for something and we dare not waste it; that this is the moment of truth.”

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
―     Henry David Thoreau

“The only way to survive eternity is to be able to appreciate each moment.”
―     Lauren Kate