It’s amazing how quickly a man’s perspective can change. Matters of seeming importance can suddenly be rendered inconsequential. Things taken for granted become more precious. Our family had one of those pivotal moments in June. But first let me tell you what was on my mind before then.

I was extremely frustrated over a computer issue. In May I began having a recurring problem regarding my blog at Repeated warnings said access to the site would be denied due to an outdated TLS. After doing some research I learned that TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. Tech-savvy people understand what that is and know how to fix such things. I’m in the other group, standing near the back of the line with a blank expression.

A TLS problem, however, appeared to be something I could resolve with a little guidance. After several hours of online chat with a very patient lady at Microsoft everything was copasetic. We said our goodbyes as I relished the return to smooth waters. Then I heard the soundtrack from Jaws and saw the dorsal fin of skewed technology circling my desk.

My computer is still working but frequently requires going through a seven-step process. I’m bandaging a wound while searching for a cure. For a while, that nagging problem was a big part of what I focused on and even fretted about. My perspective, however, changed unexpectedly on the second day of June, early that Wednesday morning.

Jane had a text from our daughter, Carrie, with the kind of message that leaps from your eyes straight into your heart. Her husband, Clay, was in a trauma center in Tallahassee with a brain bleed. Late Tuesday afternoon he had been putting decking on a porch he was adding to the back of their home. He was alone, except for Belle, an 18-month-old German Shepherd.

Belle is a big dog and plays rough. As Clay was on the ladder, Belle climbed up too, then bit his ankle and held on. He tried to shake her loose and lost his balance. It was a nasty fall, but he thought he’d be okay, so he went inside to lie down. Their 17-year-old daughter, Melanie, got home around 8 p.m.  and had no idea anything was wrong. Carrie had not heard from Clay in a while, so she called Melanie and told her to check on him. By then he was nauseated and in severe pain.

Melanie drove him to Miller County Hospital where a nursing friend met them in the emergency room. Carrie, and their seven-year-old son Walt, headed there from Lake Eufaula, where they had spent the afternoon. Clay, along with Carrie, was taken by helicopter from Colquitt, Georgia, to Bixler’s Trauma Center in Tallahassee, Florida.

Clay is much better now and should eventually be okay. Besides a brain bleed, he incurred multiple skull and facial fractures, a fractured neck, and a ruptured eardrum. After 48 hours in a hectic trauma center, there were no beds available in the hospital, so the doctor sent Clay home. He said a quiet, dark room was vital for the healing process.

On the morning we learned of his accident it didn’t take long to realize my computer issue isn’t really a problem. When a wife wonders if the man she loves will be coming home, that’s a problem. When children see their parents leave on a life-flight ride, that’s a problem. Clay is still on the mend, but we expect this chapter of his story to have a happy ending. Not everyone is that fortunate.

The uncertainty of those two days caused me to reflect on what’s most important. At the top of that list, I believe, is being prepared for eternity. Whether we’re young or old or somewhere in between, none of us know the future. Tragedy often strikes without warning.

Precautions aren’t always enough. I wrote a little book about ladder safety, but it never crossed my mind to include a section about climbing dogs. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, or even the next second. What scripture tells us, however, is that we’ll spend eternity somewhere and that God allows us to choose our destination.

John 3:16 expresses it simply. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” How much time remains for each of us between here and the hereafter is unknown. But when that time comes, it will be amazing how quickly a man’s perspective can change.

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9 Responses to Perspective

  1. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Another beautiful and timely article! The question of where we will spend eternity is the most important one we will ever answer!


  2. Michael Chason says:


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  3. Judy says:

    Well said Neil. Continued prayers for Clay and a complete recovery.


  4. Terrell Hudson says:

    Y’all have been in our prayers since we learned of the accident…on Facebook I might add!! Alice and I are happy to hear that a full recovery is expected!!
    When the appropriate time presents it’s self you might remind him as I was after my fall in 2005 that there is no such thing as an accident (I disagree) just premeditated carelessness!!


  5. Sue Goodman says:

    Amen!! Prayers for Clay and Carrie as healing continues.


  6. Cynthia Couch says:

    So glad Clay will make a full recovery. What a nasty fall! Jesus is coming; we better be ready!


  7. vernon twitty says:

    Don’t know your children or extended family, but I know you. That means heartfelt prayers for continued and complete recovery. We “Should” know what is truly important. Hopefully it does not take a traumatic event to teach us.


  8. George says:

    Neil, great title for a great column and message. We hope and pray that by now things are going well for your son-in-law and that he will be back up to speed soon. You certainly have the ability to take a terrible situation and turn it into a lesson that we all need to hear. Thanks again for sharing this very bad experience with great advice and direction.


  9. Marlene (Peavy) Hiland says:

    An amazing answer of prayers to something that could have been so tragic! Praises to our Heavenly Father!! Sometimes things happen in our life to wake us up from being so passive in our walk with God ,that gives us time to reflect on who we really are and just what blessings are all around us each day. Prayers for his continue healing!!


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