Close to Almost

I think we are all still wondering exactly what it was we witnessed with Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics. Sports Illustrated has released eight frame by frame underwater shots of Phelps' final stroke to overtake Ian Crocker by .04 seconds. I am not sure any of us can truly quantify just exactly what .04 seconds is. In this case it was the difference between one more stroke for Phelps and Crocker’s instinct to stretch and glide toward the wall. .04 seconds was the difference in you and I celebrating one of the greatest athletic performances of all time for Phelps, or our celebrating Crocker’s defeat of one of the greatest champions of all time. .04 seconds sealed athletic fate.

There is nothing about this thought that is original but it would be frightening to know how close to “almost” we come over the span of a lifetime. For the past several weeks I have been reading through Proverbs. Every verse is a testimony to how the decision of a moment can forever shape a life. The things we do in “almost” moments are the basic instincts of our character. What a man does in .04 seconds can make the difference in marriage, in his wallet, or even in eternity. A moment can make or break a man.

What is more frightening about Proverbs is that it teaches us that life does not always have an immediate finish line. Sometimes the failures of our “almost” moments do not bear fruit for years to come. These “almost” moments are not always about immediate consequence but most often about direction, destination, and the course of life. A miscalculated moment today can bring with it cataclysmic failure decades from now. It is all about sowing and reaping. The Book of Proverbs has a way of pointing us back to the “almost” moments of a person’s life that shaped them. Character becomes instinctive. “Almost” moments are presented and in .04 seconds a man reveals his fatal flaws. This statement may be a grammatical nightmare, but a man does what he is.

.04 seconds, how do you quantify such a moment in your mind? Is it the blink of an eye, the flap of a hummingbird wing, the time it takes a bullet to travel a hundred feet? I have no idea. But we will always remember these Olympic .04 seconds as the time it took to make one of sport’s greatest champions or the time it took to "almost" defeat one.


kellen owenby said…
hey bro. great blog! "character becomes instinctive." is scary and beautiful all at the same time! thanks for sharing that!

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