Sunday, December 9, 2012

that's a lot of bull

Life was good for 37 year old Chad Callahan.

In September, he had been promoted to the position of strategic accounts manager at the Lincoln, Nebraska-based metal finishing company where he had worked for the last 15 years.

He and his wife, Tracy, had been blessed with two of the most wonderful kids in the world, their three year old daughter Cayle, and their one year old son Cooper, and he often thought of them as he made the 20 mile trip west to his job in Lincoln in the early hours of the morning. Chad and Tracy had recently celebrated Thanksgiving with his parents, Brent and Connie, in the small town of Fremont, Nebraska. This year, his brother Kevin had been able to join them in the festivities.

When he left his home at 5:30 on the morning of November 29, he didn’t have a care in the world. More than likely, he was mentally preparing himself for his day at work, and really wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the rural landscape that he passed through every morning.

Just a few miles after leaving home, his 2003 Dodge Stratus crested one of the many hills on the rural road that led to the Jerome and Betty Warner Memorial Highway, and he suddenly found himself staring at a large Angus bull that had wandered on to the road from a nearby field.

Quickly, he slammed on the brakes on his car, but was unable to avoid hitting the 2000 pound animal, and the force of the collision threw it into the air. When it came down, it landed squarely on the roof of his car, which collapsed immediately. Although the coroner’s report is still pending, it is likely that he died instantly from the collision.

After dropping off their kids at the day care center, his wife Tracy was on the same road less two hours later, traveling to HER job in Lincoln. As she approached the scene of the crash, she noticed flashing lights, and she slowed to see what had happened. With a sickening feeling, she realized that the demolished vehicle that was sitting on the side of the road looked familiar, and she approached one of the sheriff’s deputies for more information. She convinced him to let her get closer to the vehicle. Although it was virtually impossible to determine who the driver was, she noticed that her husband’s briefcase was lying on the back seat, and her worst fears were concerned.

A few days later, she drove to his company to meet with the human resources manager, in order to determine the benefits that she would be entitled to under his group insurance coverage. When she saw his desk, her eyes immediately filled with tears, because it was LOADED with flowers and notes of sympathy.

Chad’s story is real. I never knew him, and I’ll never meet his family, but I’m very familiar with one of the other people whose life he touched nearly on a daily basis.

Chad’s story, although it’s sad, can provide some important lessons to all of us:

1) Chad will never again be able to ride his beloved horses (he owned six), he'll never be able to watch his children graduate from college, and he and Tracy will never again be able to celebrate their wedding anniversary. (This coming July 17 would have been their 14th.) None of us know when our last day on earth will be, which is why it’s important to always live each day as though it were your last. Set aside your grudges, treat everyone with kindness, and pay attention to your spiritual well being.

2) As you travel through life, you’ll encounter a lot of bull. Some will come your way because of your work environment, and some will linked to your personal relationships. The vast majority of the time, it won’t hurt you, but always be prepared with a back up plan in case it does.

3) This time of the year, it’s easy to forgot about the things that are actually the most important in our life. From this point forward, when you celebrate Thanksgiving, GIVE THANKS for your blessings. From this point forward, when you celebrate Christmas, pause to remember WHY we celebrate a day so powerful that it once brought a day of truce to a war in a field in France on December 25, 1914, and bear in mind that it has NOTHING to do with Black Friday (which has now become Black Thursday). From this point forward, LISTEN TO THE WORDS when you play those tired old Christmas songs, because they still contain an important message.

O Holy Night.

Finally, from this point forward, pay attention to the words of the Holy Scripture, since they are the Word of God:

Mary did you know

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