Archive for August 31st, 2009

August 31, 2009

In the Blink of an Eye

The fourth anniversary of Katrina has arrived with little fanfare. There is no doubt that this Hurricane left its indelible signature on the lives of many. Many, but not all. There are few events that instantaneously change us all. I got to thinking about events that occurred in my lifetime with immediate impact universally – or at least nationally. One second we are all one way – and the next second we are all dramatically different. For me, this is the “In the Blink of an Eye” category of life. You blink – and you’re changed.

These events are important not just because of their universal impact, but also because of the lessons that accompany the reality that these events can – and do – occur. Lest we fall into trappings of white picket fences, surround sound stereos, towering litany of books or the blue flashing light of our TV screens we must remember that much of life is outside of our control – and the purpose of life is so much more than creature comforts.

In reflection, I have can think of three events that I think fit into this category of instantaneous impact. There are some peripheral events that, while major, did not get into this category. Some examples of those that didn’t make it would be both Iraqi wars and the election of Barack Obama – although I admit that Obama’s election carries so many implications that it was tempting to put him my “blink of an eye” category. My litmus test basically was if I had to think about it in a prolonged fashion then it didn’t meet the criteria. Any split second event of immediate global ramifications should be abundantly obvious at the mere mention of its name.

“Blink of an Eye” level events occurring in my lifetime:

1. The Challenger Tragedy: Of my three, I think this one is the only one that may not fit into the category. However, the first thing I think when I consider this event is that everyone knows where they were when it happened. I was in fifth grade, in Mrs. Gaines class, watching Challenger take off with her teacher in tow.

2. The Berlin Wall: What more needs to be said? This iconic wall’s destruction with the upheaval of communism in the USSR closely following is momentous.

3. 9/11: One second I’m in class trying to earn a degree, the next I’m on my phone with my parents across the ocean trying to figure it out.

Have I missed any? Did I get these wrong? Let me know…