I’m thrilled to say a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story about a situation that could’ve gone a completely different direction. A man – Charles Sisson – who lives near Amory’s McAlpine Lake was at the right place at the right time when a 5-year-old boy – Riggan White – went underwater trying to retrieve one of his flip flops. Mr. Sisson was there visiting Riggan’s great-grandfather lakeside and, in a blink, the accident and quick rescue happened.

Life – and all of its ups and downs, sorrows and joys – comes in a blink. As hard as we study, work, eat right and take precautions, many times what comes with life is completely out of our control.

I’ve thought several times about the story I would’ve had to have written had things gone differently that day at McAlpine Lake. There are dozens of stories I’ve written about motor vehicle accidents, fires and shootings that didn’t end well, and it makes you wonder, ‘What if things would’ve gone differently?’

What if there would’ve been a telephone call or one last household task to do to prevent that person being on that spot of road that very second? What if a smoke detector woke that person up or if it wasn’t too cold to use that space heater? What if somebody would’ve said the right thing to defuse somebody’s temper?

When we lose someone close to us, we ponder and dwell on countless what ifs running through our minds. We visualize and dream about how things would be if they were still here – we think about the birthday dinners, Christmas exchanges, times when old acquaintances come to visit and many more years we have to share.

Life comes and goes in a blink, and it’s true what they say about how it flies by even faster the older we get. Life (i.e. work, responsibilities and obligations) gets in the way of the important things that make life great (i.e. family, friends and joys).

The McAlpine Lake story was the second one I had the pleasure of writing this year about how someone saved a life and the fourth one I’ve done like that in the past few years.

There was a 12-year-old girl in Hatley who acted quickly to get her grandfather to safety after he had a heart attack while deer hunting. There was an off-duty deputy who acted fast to stop someone from potentially bleeding to death after an accident. There was an Army/National Guard veteran who used his military skills to save a neighbor during a medical emergency.

I wish I could write more just like those.

These are the kinds of stories people love to hear about because they represent hope and heroism. You don’t have to train like a Navy Seal to do something amazing and impactful. There’s something amazing and impactful inside all of us, but we may never be at the right place at the right second to be able to one day tell that story.

For those moments when there’s a second or two to respond, that something amazing instantly kicks in through instinct. Do it. There’s no time to think, there’s just a moment to act. It doesn’t matter if it’s diverting disaster or just talking someone out of something they’ll regret, there may be moments to instantly act. Do it.

None of us know why good things and bad things happen to the people they happen to when they do, and there’s no use dwelling on them when they do or don’t happen. The days, weeks and years come and go by in a blink, and there’s no use to dwell on what good and bad they’ll have in store.

We’ve all got good stories to tell already and the more life we live, the more they’ll bring us joy. Stick close to the people and opportunities that bring you joy with the time you’ve got to do it.

Also stick close to the fact that you may one day be in the right place at the right time to help save someone so they can spend more time with the ones who bring them joy. In case you do, do it.

RAY VAN DUSEN is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

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