I have been spending a considerable amount of time on the road lately. I have a lengthy commute to and from work and another project in which I am involved that have both kept me in my car often. Numerous days over the last several months, I have spent driving about six to seven hours per day. The time alone in my car has allowed me much reflection and also an opportunity to catch up on phone conversations with family, friends, and business contacts. I have actually learned to enjoy my quiet time on the freeways and highways of Southern California.
Unfortunately, during this time, I have actually witnessed a few and come upon several accidents; some fatal. None have been worse than the accident my family and I passed the other night as we traveled down Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains. It appeared that a compact car had been clipped by a semi-truck sending the car end-over-end down a shallow but lengthy ravine on the side of the road. When the vehicle had come to rest, it was on its side. The windows and doors were no longer intact or even attached; it looked like a shell of a car. Items were strewn along the highway and shoulder of the road, in bushes and trees, as were, I can only assume, the former inhabitants of the car.
Several dozen law enforcement officers and rescue personnel were present, gathering evidence and surveying the scene. No one was rushing about or moving too quickly, indicative that there was no need to hurry to save a life - it was too late. Three officers split oncoming traffic where skid marks were being measured, several more stood yards off from the vehicle, while others combed the ravine. I was fearful that my children might see more than they should but as we were only traveling at a rate of two miles per hour; of course, they would see whatever there was to see. Thank goodness, the graphic evidence was beyond our visual capacity and we just moved slowly past the grisly scene.
Our car was silent for a moment as we all reflected on what we had just seen. I was instantly thankful for my family and for my own safekeeping in my current crazy commute and travel schedule. When operating a motor vehicle, there can be a tendency to have a "get there first" attitude, to be a speed demon, to pass every car on the road, to serve up revenge to the guy that just cut you off, to be the first off the line... None of these things matter in the vast scheme of life. Being first doesn't mean you are the best or even the one left alive at the finish line.
Take the time to determine a wise course for you and/or your department. Think through your next course of action - is speed and finishing first the most important accomplishment? Or is quality and arriving with all your functions intact the best way to finish? The starting line is where the journey begins, make sure you get to the finish line because just beyond it lies another starting line just waiting for the next race.