One of my biggest delays before starting this how to live well blog was being sure I totally had my act together. My biggest fear was knowing that the first group that would read it would be friends, family and people I work with. They especially would be the ones who could call me out in a heartbeat. Fear of judgment from others can be suffocating.
The timing for truth telling is imminent for me today as my lovely supportive daughter (thanks Erin) posted last night on Facebook for all her friends to see that everyone should check out her Dad’s ‘Christian’ blog out. No pressure now at all….
I almost hate to tell an embarrassing story of my own, that did not happen long ago, but within the past few years. It was one of those where the odds seemed very improbable of being a crime, or in my mind anything even close to wrong. But it scared me half to death and left an indelible mark on future decisions.
I was out on another routine business trip in Atlanta. I had meetings with a customer and found one that was able and willing to go out for dinner. As was always a habit I try to book my Marriott family hotel as close to where we’d be eating out. Not only for convenience sake, but typically it is not uncommon for customers to expect a drink or few. So if the situation arises I long ago set the course to never drink and drive. I am one to preach heavily on that topic and have given the speech to my kids multiple times to never put yourself or anyone in danger and to be aware of its consequences (just ask J.T. Barrett).
On this particular day I drove literally across the street from the hotel to the restaurant in the mall. If you’ve been to Atlanta, short distance does not mean zero traffic. To get across required sitting through 3 red lights. Since it was raining I was not going to walk.
I met my client at 6 pm at Maggianos. I didn’t think such a thing happened in a restaurant but they were having a special that evening, buy one get one free drinks. Me being magnetically drawn to a good deal I couldn’t possibly turn down such an offer easily. My customer and I were hitting off the relationship building portion of the meeting quite well and the conversation flowed and we made great progress. This particular client was one we were not having much success with and the need to break down some walls and establish a stronger relationship was vital. No better way than to loosen them up over food and drinks.
Upon finishing with dinner I was quite certain my client was fine and able to drive home with no worries for him. Likewise I saw no issues whatsoever either, other than the fear of one of those random sobriety check points where they would have smelled wine on my breath. So I hopped in the car to head back to the hotel, just across the street. As I reached the 3rd light which had multiple lanes, arrows and a big cross walk. I was needing to turn right.
A group of 5 people stumbled up to the crosswalk to the right of me. They were whooping and hollering after obviously also enjoying the 2 for 1 special and heading back to the hotel. I couldn’t tell if they were going to walk in front of my car or in the crosswalk where I was going to turn right. I thought to myself those people are so drunk, I need to be careful lest they fall into my car. One woman was really weaving and wobbling. She had one of those loud high pitched giggles and she was laughing non-stop. It seemed as if the light would never change to green. I waited, waited, and waited.
Finally I decided you know what, if I gun it real fast and go right I will get right past those people and avoid any problems. I double and triple checked all directions. In an instance I stepped on the gas to turn right on red. Unbeknownst to me the light turned green from the other direction and the large giggly woman jumped into the lane in front of my car and was followed immediately by two of the guys. My car lurched forward with a squeal and it felt as if the tail end was 10 feet in the air and the hood pointed down as if it were falling inside an earthquake crack in the road. The woman screeched and looked me in the eyes with a look of horror in her face.
In a moments time my head, face, ears, arms and every vein in my body went blood warm. My life of present and future horror flashed through my mind .. sirens and red lights flashing, handcuffs, TV cameras, MADD advocates scorning, career down the drain, family visiting me in jail, church ministries and unblemished reputation all squashed in an instance, all because I ran over and killed 3 people…but I only had a couple drinks, it wasn’t even close to over the limit…too bad you wicked person those glasses of wine were just enough for you to be impaired….no excuse, …..you should have known better….you of all people mr. responsible…. guilty of vehicular homicide…
Thankfully the very next sound I heard was the woman giggling again and the 4 men laughing at her for jumping 2 inches in the air. They assumed I had played a joke on them by gunning my engine as they crossed 6 inches from my bumper.
Shane Freeman Pastor of Southbrook Church in Charlotte had recently used the statement neither he nor I are sure where it came from that states ‘We’re all just one decision away from stupid’. I have done some foolish things in my life before, but none that jumped out at me like this real moment in Atlanta.
I don’t know if it was my fast reaction of shifting rapidly from the gas to the brake to stop a disaster. Or maybe, just maybe, it was God and His angels protecting me from making the biggest mistake of my life. I can’t put my foot on it, no pun intended, but it sure scared and scarred me enough to say to myself, you better be careful. This could be the last chance. The reminder runs through me often still to this day.
It no doubt put a hammer on a point for me that we all really are just one decision away from stupid. Thank God for my sake it was just That moment, when you are thankful for what did not happen.
Once again, you have the chance to stop reading or
If you don’t know Why in the world my blog posts have this divider in every story, click on it so you understand before reading more.
I cannot do enough justice to cover at this time the many examples of mistakes made by people written in the Bible. People often sight that they do not like the Bible because it is a book of do’s and don’ts. Anyone that makes such a statement has never read it cover to cover as it is filled with stories about the lives of people who have shown their humanness. The media today would have a field day writing them up as failures, hypocrites, and terrible decision makers.
What is often missed is how God dealt with these imperfect people to restore them. He saw them as His children and worked to mold them into great people and leaders. There is and was only one perfect human ever on earth and that was Jesus Christ. However using our imperfection does not eliminate the need for us to seek Him and His help as provided by the wisdom and power that comes from the promised helper that dwells with us. My point today is to provide a warning call that we cannot toy with our lives, actions, and relationship with God. It is one that needs to be worked on daily.
I have had a lot of influences in my life in helping me, one of them being Shane Freeman who used the sentence that we need to heed the warning that it is naive to think we’re infallible, we are only one poor decision away from stupid . We all need routine tune ups in our lives and good mechanics to keep us on the right path. Just as in our careers there is always room for improvement and growth, so is the necessity in our walk with Christ. If you do not have a church that is helping you grow, find one. And with on-line recordings readily at your fingers there is little excuse to not have input.
If you have the time I recommend at least listening to this one teaching by Shane on the life of King David. David did some scandalous things that would have certainly been the end of his political career in society today. Yet amazingly, he was known as a man after God’s heart. Take a moment to hear this teaching on David and others at the same link from Shane. Shane is the real deal, humble, and the same on stage as he is if you met him at a ball game, well worth listening too.
I pray my near miss story inspires you to check the dipstick and be sure all is well under the hood.