Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Decisions We Make

I often think about the decisions I make.  I wonder about little every day decisions that change our lives.  I won't lie, normally I think about these things when something bad happens rather than something good.  For example, I got into a fender bender about 6 years ago. I was working as a bank teller and I had stayed 10 minutes late to help clear out a line in the lobby.  I left and rear-ended a super sweet elderly couple 20 minutes later.  As I sat in my car, I thought...

If I had left on time, would this have happened?
Would I have hit someone else?  
Would it have been worse?
Would I be home by now, accident free?
Would these people have been hit by someone else?

Just random questions as to how the universe connects us all.

The other night, I had a similar experience.  A series of tiny, unimportant decisions that led me to these universe examining questions.

First decision: I gave the kids a bath, a day late.  They were due for a bath Sunday night, but it didn't happen for whatever reason and when I thought of it, I decided to wait until Monday night.

Second decision: The water got cold fast, so I decided to add warmer water which made the water deeper than normal.

Third decision: I didn't pick out towels before the kids got in.  I decided that since the linen closet at my in law's house is right next to the tub I could grab them when I needed them.

It's the third decision that sticks in my mind most.  The smallest decision.  The seemingly most insignificant decision.

I had washed their blond hair and their tiny toes and their chubby bellies.  I was ready to take Freddie out, so I turned to the linen closet.  My eyes were off of them for maybe 2 seconds while I reached for the towels.  When I turned back, Freddie was under water.  There was no splash, no crying, no warning.

In that moment, I just grabbed him and pulled him to me.  Hugging him close as he screamed in fear.  It wasn't until then that the scene started playing out before my eyes: his arms and legs thrashing about, but too short in the deeper water to break the surface and cause a splash; his mouth and eyes wide open crying for me, but my head was turned to the closet; his small body rolling under the rippling water trying to find stability.

It wasn't until I had pulled him out and my heart started to calm that the thoughts of 'what if' started playing through my mind.  Those thoughts that belong in places that we don't allow our minds to go.  Those thoughts that make us realize how fragile the universe is, how quickly everything can go bad, how one little decision can change our lives forever.
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