Traveling through the Time Tunnel. Why did the time travelers always end up at a historical destination and moments such as the Titanic in 1912 or Pearl Harbor in 1941?
On Friday, November 22, 1963 I was in my first grade classroom. In a little while we’d be dismissed to go home to cartoons that afternoon and whatever activities the weekend would bring. Thanksgiving was next week!
In Fort Worth, Texas shortly after lunchtime we were advised that our President had just been assassinated. I did not even know what that word meant but I do recall that in short order we were ordered to be picked up by our parents and ushered home. President Kennedy had just given a speech at our very own Fort Worth Hotel Texas that morning, before traveling to Dallas. I remember being sad, but even more disheartened that all my afternoon cartoons had been preempted.
Though only seven years old at the time, I regret having not fully appreciated the full scope of that historical event.
In 1980 I was in my first professional job out of college as a Personnel Director at a manufacturing plant. There was an industrial injury and major one at that whereby during an annealing (metal texturing process) an employee became literally inflamed. Panic stricken he ran, further exacerbating the blaze. Burned over 90% of his body, he painfully endured 18 more days before finally succumbing.
I visited him in the hospital and watched him writhe in unfathomable pain. I regrated having no words of comfort or encouragement, whatsoever.
In May 1990 I was presented with an attractive job opportunity. The downside is it was in an unappealing location. Plus, it was going to require relocation. I was comfortable with the status quo, discouraged by the hassle of disruption, and opted to decline.
Within months the job I was in erupted in tension. Public criticism was launched by not only the news media, but some in the community I had considered allies. Being targeted was not enjoyable, the job lost many elements of enjoyment and satisfaction for me. Immediately I was compelled to consider other opportunities but was either not interviewed or passed over. It would be eight years before another offer came…in that same community I had formerly eschewed.
What we would give to do it all over. Or maybe not.
In 1963 I was a kid. How unfair to myself to have thought I was supposed to have the intellectual capacity to process such a milestone event of the 20th century? Instead, how about considering myself fortunate to have witnessed such a dark and tragic history and recalled the parts that I have?
Seventeen years later as I watched my fellow worker suffer and writhe, might that have been an event for which words were woefully inadequate anyway? What’s to say that what would have been uttered would be meaningful, or even appropriate for that matter.
Finally, the “delayed” opportunity to shift someplace I didn’t want to be, led to another move to a more desirable spot a relatively brief time later. That relocation in turn brought about even greater fortuity, circumstances, and connection that eventually delivered the joy now celebrated.
In reflection would my younger self have even heeded the advice and wisdom of my current version? Maybe, but more likely not. Had I followed those instructions would I be in better standing? Once again, possible, but I’ll accept where chance and circumstance provided delivery laughing at many more foibles and indiscretions that have brought me to today. Sure, I could have undoubtedly made stronger choices. Yet, there’s a peace with how it’s all turned out so far.
I’ll take it.
The Seed Sower