When I was a young man of 18, I had a Canadian girlfriend named Mary, who had beautiful skin, cute little freckles and long red hair. Our romance began when we met one summer at Meacham Lake Public Campsite. She was camping there with her family, and I lived on that campsite all summer while running our family’s seasonal boat business. It was love at first sight, and we were inseparable from the moment we met. After their vacation was over and she went home, we wrote letters every day, and I drove to Montreal at least once a month to see her. I gladly spent my weekends on the couch at her family home, so we could be together.
Needless to say, the weekends went by too quickly no matter what we did. Often we were awake until the early morning hours talking, going out to eat and just enjoying every moment with each other. When it was time for me to leave on Sunday evening, the lingering “good-by’s” got harder all the time. In an emotionally wrung-out, physically exhausted state, I would climb into my car and start the 4 hour drive home. Often I would drive for many miles and not remember anything about the road I had just been on. Worse yet, I was so tired that my eye lids would droop down and close for a few seconds at a time, as I drove along.
On one such drive home, I was fully absorbed in the memory of our weekend activities and contemplating asking this young woman to marry me, when something happened. There is a long straight stretch of road between McCallum and Paul Smith, NY. At the end of this is a sweeping curve around the end of Mountain Pond. It was right at the beginning of this long, slow curve that I slipped off into a half-memory, half-sleep state. My eye lids slipped shut, and a warm relaxed feeling swept over me. I was there with Mary once again, as we walked along the streets Old Montreal, holding hands.
From some place in the distance, a deep thumping noise pulled me back to reality. As I broke through the sleepy fog and confusion, it felt like something was hitting my car. Very loud thumps in rapid sequence filled the air which startled me awake. When my eyes snapped open, I realized I had been asleep at the wheel, and drifted around the corner to cross head on, into the oncoming lane. My two left tires were in the gutter, and my left front bumper was clipping the cement guard rail posts on the wrong side of the road. At that moment, the car was ready to pass the final guardrail, fly over the steep bank, and plunge 150 feet down into the ice-cold water of Mountain Pond.
Instinctively I turned the wheel, crossed back over into my own lane and found a place to pull off the road until I regained my composure. As I inspected the bumper of my car, I was amazed at how little damage had occurred, and was filled with gratitude to be alive and completely unharmed. The knowledge of just how close I came to an untimely death was a sobering thought indeed. Just two seconds more and I would have been passed the guard rails, over the bank, into that deep, cold water and lost from sight. Who knows when or if my body would have ever been found.
Let me explain why I am giving you this life lesson. Any time we get distracted and keep pushing beyond the healthy limits of life, we needlessly put ourselves and others at risk. Some consequences may be mildly inconvenient, while others can cause irreparable damage that may have an impact on generations to come. The point is, we are all just one stupid decision away from something that might disrupt everything that was supposed to be. Get distracted and fall asleep at the wheel of your life for a moment, and the great blessing that was just around the next corner, will never happen!
Let me suggest to you that now is the time for all of us to stay alert, and do what has to be done, the way it has to be done. It is not the time for distraction, compromise or being lulled to sleep on the important things of life. Things like loving God, honesty, integrity, honor, being good to your word, honest work, staying out of needless debt, emotional stability, compassion for others and having self-control are the foundation stones of a healthy life. With these in place you will do great things. However, without them, you will have nothing but trouble.
How long have you been asleep at the wheel? If there is noise and confusion that fills your life on a regular basis, it is time to wake up my friend, before it is too late. Open your eyes to all that is flashing by you. The fact that you are reading this means there is still time to grab the wheel of your life, and get back into the lane where you belong. There may be some damage to deal with but that is minor compared to what will happen if you fail to make the needed changes.
I believe for some who are reading this, this is your last wake-up call. You have wasted your life, and everyone’s time.You have made endless excuses, but the bottom line is, you have stubbornly refused to change. Listen to me, the guard rails are about to end, and now is the time to grab the wheel of your life, and take control. If you keep sleeping behind the wheel, we will all see your tail lights fading into the dark, murky waters of a broken life. Is this what you really want? Only you know the answer to that question!!!