Sunday, December 4, 2005


Webster’s dictionary defines a moment as: a brief indefinite interval of time; a specific point in time; a period of importance, significance, or excellence. Each of us is given a life of moments. If I define my life in moments equivalent to minutes, I have had over 500 million awake moments since the age of 16. I wonder how many of those moments qualify for the third definition of the word moment- important, significant, or excellent.

We tend to live our life getting from one moment to the next as fast as possible, packing our time as full of activity as we can. We always think we have many more moments coming, so if we waste a few, what does it matter? The weekend of October 29-30, 2005 I discovered the importance of those moments.

In a moment, a blood clot took an otherwise healthy man from speech into silence. It took a family from joy to fear. In a few more moments, it changed that fear to despair as his brain swelled. In another moment, the despair became unspeakable sorrow as the damage from that blot clot took his life.

But, as I watched the family and friends of Randall Scott Merritt go through these terrible moments, I saw the true significant of his life of moments. It is obvious from the dozens of people filling the waiting rooms and lining the halls that this man made the most of his moments. He was a man who lived his life well, who loved his family and friends well, who used his moments well.

I listened to people discussing their moments spent with Randy, each one remembering the important, significant, excellent moments. A hunting story from one, a football story from another... It is obvious from this man’s life that the most important things we leave behind are our moments.

His wife, Rhonda, will always have the memories of the times in a group of people where his eyes met hers and for a moment they were the only two people in the room. His sons, Zach and Seth, will always have the memories of the moments that their dad’s voice was the only one heard above a cheering crowd. I heard of the moment Zach told his friends to look at his father’s hands as he lay there in that hospital bed...the hands of a man who worked hard-he had each of them touch his dad’s hands.

I am absolutely overwhelmed with the impact Randy’s life of moments had on everyone with whom he came in contact. As I struggle to understand the incomprehensible—this loss of a man so good to his family and friends, I see the importance of each moment. And how we spend our moments will impact others for the rest of their lives. But, it is vital that we remember the first definition of a moment: a brief indefinite interval of time. We don’t know how many moments we are going to have. The next one may be the last one. What will we do with that moment? What memory will it leave with those in our lives?

First printed November 20, 2005 on the Op-Ed page of the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper, Huntington, WV

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