What difference does one second make?

One second in Dallas is the time that it would have taken to make a difference for John F. Kennedy and the world. If Oswald had either pulled the trigger one second earlier or one second later, history as we know it would be very different. As you think about it, throughout the past, there have been many times when one second either did make or could have made a difference that changed the world.

When you think about your own life, perhaps you have had the same close calls. One second at a red light or one second before you moved might have saved your life. One second is the smallest practical unit of time measurement that we use. We often take our seconds for granted. Like pennies today, we allow them to be discarded or we ignore them when they are just lying on the ground. Yet, our seconds are the most precious moments we have. The seconds with a loved one before they pass away or the seconds that bring us wonders we never anticipated. Many of the most important events in our lives are over in seconds and will never be repeated.

I was sitting at a fireplace outside with some friends the other night. It was nearly 11 PM and the sky was very clear. The moon was not too bright but there seemed to be a million stars in the sky. I turned around to see where the Big Dipper was and suddenly there flamed the beautiful trail of a shooting star as it blazed across the night sky. I turned around back to the others who were sitting around the fireplace and yelled, “Look at the shooting star,” but it was too late. Not one of my three friends had seen the slightest trace or sign of the beautiful star I had just witnessed. It was over in less than a second. The other three people intent on watching the fire or some bit of conversation had missed one of the most moving events in the world. Life can happen that fast and often does.

Thus, the words “Live each second to the fullest” and you will live a very full life make a great deal of sense. “If you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” If you watch your seconds, the minutes and days will take care of themselves. What are some seconds that have made a major difference in your life? Have you had some seconds that you will never forget? What difference has one second made to you? Do you squander your seconds or have you learned to be frugal with life?

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