November 14, 2011

Cliff Hanging Lessons



My middle son sent me a text message that included a photo of a car in a shallow river at the bottom of a cliff. The message said, "I was a passenger. Everyone is okay. Will call you later. Wear your seatbelts. Love y'all." The distribution list included his fiancÚ.


My heart stopped, knowing that "okay" could mean anything from completely okay, to "I only lost one limb." But I waited. Later, I texted his fiancÚ to see how she was doing. After that, I received another text from him saying he was too tired to call, had just made it back to the hotel but would call in the morning, which he did.


Short version of the story is that a divine hand helped them get down the cliff front first until it hit a rock and then rolled into the river. Upside down. His head in the water. But it wasn't deep. If they had rolled the entire distance, I would likely be writing a eulogy today. That is a sobering thought.


When he and I talked this morning, he said that he really missed his gal and was texting her as the group was going up the mountains for snowshoeing. She was at home in Texas and he has been working in New Mexico. "And when I made it out of the car, dad, and back up the cliff to the road....all I wanted to do was call her." I listened. Many lessons there, the last two of which I pass on to you on his behalf.

  1. Who is the first person you would call to say that you were okay after an emergency? I don't mean call out of responsibility, but out of a yearning to connect. Does that person know they mean that much to you?
  2. Be calm. Always. You make better decisions and can take of others, too, when you are calm.
  3. Reach out quickly to those you want to inform. Just the fact that he let us know as soon as he could was wonderful. Scary, but good to be informed. He knows we would want to know.
  4. Wear your seatbelts. All the time. No excuses. Period. End of story.
  5. Get the junk out of your vehicle. He felt lucky that they did not roll down the hill, and also that none of the ski poles did not stab anyone in the car. Look at everything in your car and think about it flying into your head at 70 mph.



 Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2011 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved












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