In Just One Moment

This week’s eNewsletter feature story
is written by Julie Ruchniewicz,
FPCE Parish Nurse.

The Bible clearly tells us that there is a time and a place for everything in our lives. EVERYTHING has a time and a place. It is hard to wrap our minds around how much can happen in just an hour, a minute, or even a second, each day of our lives.

For example, in just one minute:

  • Over 6 million chemical reactions are happening within every cell of your body.
  • Around the world, 21,000 pizzas are baked.
  • Movie goers will eat well over a ton of popcorn.
  • There are 2 million Google searches.
  • Globally, 59 weddings are taking place, so vows are exchanged an average of nearly once a second.
  • The Earth is hit 300 times by lightning.
  • There are 5 earthquakes.
  • 55,757 barrels of oil are consumed.
  • Sadly, 105 people die in the world; at the same time there are 250 births.

Our lives, it seems, are essentially just moments in time with countless things happening all around us, often without notice.

Back on February 15 of this year, I had to be out in Oakbrook at 11:30 am for an appointment. I had decided that afterwards I would head to this wonderful antique store that I had heard about. Exploring two stories of vintage bits and pieces was my way of spending an afternoon!

Because the store is in Aurora, it had never been convenient for me to visit there. My nearby appointment, however, meant I could justify the trip.

I put the location in my GPS, due to arrive at the antique store at 1:30 pm, and off I went. As I drove down Highway 88, I noticed quite a few police cars racing past me.  “There must be an accident up ahead,” I thought.

I got to my destination and went inside, anticipating buying just a few fun things for my house. The shop did not disappoint; there was so much to look at, and I had plenty of time to browse. While I was in the store, I noted hearing more sirens and was thinking that whatever the police were responding to–I was still pretty sure it was an accident–must be very close. I went back to my shopping.

As I mentally placed interesting signs on my walls or rustic frames on my tables, I was aware of a certain buzz around the store. Finally, I went up front and asked the staff if everything was okay. They told me police were responding to an active shooter just a few minutes away.

At that moment, they were not sure if the shooter was on the loose or acting alone. We all just froze for a moment in time. We waited anxiously while one woman got a live television news feed on her phone. The staff decided that they should lock down the store until they received further information.

Since the highway was only blocks away, I quickly left, got in my car and headed home. I thought the farther away I could get from there (and the closer to my home in Glenview), the better. As I drove toward safety, I watched at least 100 law enforcement vehicles, SWAT Hummers, and ambulances sped past me, toward the danger.

As Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood used to say, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people that are helping.’”

Let me be clear, I never felt threatened.

There are just moments in time when it would seem as though the clock stops and the action freezes, and one has the distinct impression that, as a result of this experience, you may not be exactly the same again.

Why was I in Aurora–a town I’d never visited before–at 1:30 on that Friday afternoon? I pulled in my driveway, let out a deep sigh and cried. I thanked God that I was home, and I prayed for all those in the at the site of the shooting who desperately wanted to go home. I prayed, too, for the ones who were already in their eternal home. I prayed for the families waiting for their loved ones, for the first responders, and for all who would inevitably be pained by the news of this tragedy.

Frozen moments in time.

Many people can tell you where they were when they heard the news of the assassination of President Kennedy or during the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger. And then there are our very personal moments in time–the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, a great success, or some other big change in our lives–that are frozen only for us or for those few we share the importance with

How quickly things can change, in a moment’s time.

What we do in these instances, how we respond and the decisions we make within those moments in time have a lasting impact on us and the lives of others.

Does this mean I have made huge changes in my life or had some kind of an epiphany about what this event should teach me? No, it has not. That may be yet to come.

Has it reminded me to be present in the moment, have gratitude for all my blessings? Have I witnessed the resilience of our nation, people or even myself? Absolutely.

As there is a time and place for everything, so there are appointed moments that happen in an instant. We take in, we share, we process, we adjust, and then we live in the times and seasons of our lives that follow. We continue to sow and reap, plant and harvest.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Blessings to each and every one of you as you walk with Christ through the moments of your lives.

Julie Ruchniewicz
FPCE Parish Nurse