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Don’t wait for the collision

By Walter Geiger Once upon a time, I witnessed firsthand the violent collision of two vehicles just off I-75 in downtown Atlanta. Leaving a downtown conference, I was driving the first truck in line to turn left onto the southbound lane of the interstate. Cars coming off the southbound lane and those turning onto it it from the other direction were whizzing through the intersection. I could see the crash materializing before it happened. The cars were on a collision course. Neither driver was paying attention to the other. I and several other drivers blew our horns to no avail. One car t-boned the other. Neither driver ever touched the brakes. Glass shattered. Metal screeched. Air bags deployed as one car overturned once and then a second time. It was a horror show that played out in what seemed at the time to be slow motion right before my eyes. What stood out to me at the time and still does today was the huge amount of dirt and debris the impact knocked loose from the undercarriages of each car. It was like a mini dust storm, raining dirt, caked mud, gravel etc. to the pavement. The moment of the collision came back to me the other day as I was reading a devotional about the guilt and other baggage we humans carry around with us each day. To paraphrase the author of the missive: ‘˜Though this luggage serves us no purpose, we cling to it as if it were a designer bag filled with gold or some other treasure’. Our pasts are just that – our pasts. No amount of lamentation can change them. Wailing and the gnashing of teeth make no difference. Our back stories have already been written and they were written by us. They are a part of history and nothing we or anyone else can do will change them. The good news is this. Ninety-nine percent of those around us are so consumed with their own stories and back stories they have precious little time to dwell on ours. The few who do will soon have burdens of their own that will drag them kicking and screaming away from judging others. That is just the way life is. Both drivers walked away from the wreck unscathed. I suspect they approached that intersection with caution or avoided it all together after that day. When the wreckers had hauled away the cars, it took firemen and others about 20 minutes to sweep up the scene. There were shards of glass and various vehicle parts but the vast majority of the mess was the dirt and mud that had been caked up under those cars. It took a violent collision to knock it loose. We need not wait for such a collision in our lives. We can scrape the accumulated detritus of our pasts from our boots and move on without that weight. We can write the rest our stories the way we want them written from here on out. Some of us will experience the violent collision that will teach us this lesson. Others will learn it the easy way.

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