Time\'s Up

I love Sci-Fi, no big secret.  There is a specific genre of Sci-Fi that I particularly enjoy, time travel.  I think that is why I love the TV show “Dr. Who” when I was a kid.  Despite the fact that the show had a cheap budget and cheesy effects, it dealt with the concept of time.


I have always been fascinated by how one split second of time; can affect your entire life.  How if you change one minute detail of one day, your whole life would have been different.  I think everybody, whether they are aware of it or not, have several of these benchmarks in their lives.


Here is one of mine.


After my junior year of high school, one of my friends, “Cozad”, wanted to join the Navy on the buddy system.  I really had no plans after high school, so I thought sure why not.  We met with a recruiter at the Westminster Mall and scheduled a time to come in and take a series of tests. 


We went in one Saturday and took the test.  As I recall, it was a standard multiple choice test of about 100 questions.  It was a timed test.  I finished the test with time to spare.  I was sitting there waiting for them to call time and I just happened to notice that I had left the answer to the second question blank.  Upon further inspection I realized the answer to question two was in question three’s space, three’s in four’s…and so on.  I madly started erasing and of course they called, “Time.”


Needless to say I failed on a spectacular level.  I tried to explain to the recruiter, but he said that I could not retake the test for some specified amount of time.  I ask him what the ramifications of my failure were.  He basically said I would be classified sub-moron and swab decks my whole career.  Cozad on the other hand had done exceptionally well. 


As appealing as a career of mopping sounds, I decide to wait them out.  Several weeks later, Cozad joined up with the Marines instead.  At that point I lost interest in the Navy and never pursued it.


One slight of hand changed the course of my entire life.  Had I done well on the exam, and I have no reason to think I would not have, I would have signed up that day. 


I have other split second decisions that impacted my whole life.  Sometimes it is fun to think “what if.”  Now I don’t regret not joining the Navy.  Frankly I cannot imagine myself enjoying the military, but who knows.  What would that Ben have been like?  Radically different I would think.


How about you?  Any split second decisions impact the course of your life?

By Ben Posted in Life

4 comments on “Time\'s Up

  1. Split decisions. Hmm…

    At Judi’s insistence (and against my better judgment, which turned out to be not-so-good after all), I left my high-paying temp position at Borland International to take a job in Bethany’s library. I didn’t particularly *want* to work for Bethany at the time. It had benefits, and I supposed that was better than nothing. So I did.

    Less than a month later, Borland’s stock took a nosedive when it tried to release a combination Windows/DOS spreadsheet package to satisfy everybody in the market at once. Borland, which was, at the time, the 3rd largest software company in the world, laid off 90% of the temps and probably 50% of the regular employees. My job would have been axed.

    Since then, I found out I liked library work, got a master’s degree in the field, and am the director of a library at the same University I didn’t particularly want a job with.

    All that because I decided to listen to my wife interview with a gnomish old crank Scotsman from Canada.

    Go figure. It beats unemployment.


  2. In 1985 I was given a choice to obey God’s leading me to YWAM or not.

    I chose to go even though I didn’t want to. That choice set in motion a chain of events that would lead me to Bethany, which led me to eventually meet my wife. It also eventually would lead my sister to Bethany, thus she met Brian and now I am related to him (is that a good thing?). Needless to say that one act of obeidence on my part in 1985 has led to several events in my life up to this very point. It was a pivital point in my life, of that I have no doubt.

  3. Yes…I had a pivotal moment…I DID JOIN THE #$@%&#$ MILITARY! The Army, in fact! Ahhhhhhh, the stupidity of youth…..

    We were hungry, we were pastors, I was ONLY joining the National Guard, part-time, right? I was ONLY going to be living in Monterey…

    I HONESTLY BELIEVED I was going to get a chance to serve my country by doing humanitarian missions in various parts of my state…
    I HONESTLY BELIEVED the military was about honor.
    I HONESTLY BELIEVED it to be my best option.
    I HONESTLY BELIEVED people in the military were good, God-fearing patriots like me.
    I HONESTLY BELIEVED many things.

    But sadly and happily, I discovered many things to the contrary of my romantic notions. It DID, in fact, change my life, and in many ways – for the better. Now, don’t go thinking I’m the newest recruiter for Uncle Sam – quite the contrary! But I did learn:
    ~that I loved my husband.
    ~that not all soldiers are mindless baby-killers.
    ~that honor is YOUR choice, and not dependent on those around you.
    ~that throwing a hand-grenade, shooting a gatlin gun, and repelling down 50-foot walls can be quite thrilling.
    ~that once you stop exercising after you exit the Army, you get fat!
    ~that just because you are REQUIRED to respect someone never means they will necessarily EARN or DESERVE it!
    ~that some bonds of friendship, no matter how bizarre or unlikely, are never breakable

    I used to regret my service in the military for all the heartache it brought me. In many ways, I am still only “surviving” it nearly 10 years later. But similar to what you said, it is that split moment decision that led me down a path that, although I’d like to forget certain portions, has had stepping stones that have formed who I am. I do not thank the Army for that…rather, I thank God for His grace and His mercy to always work things for His good!

    I love you, man! I cannot imagine you in a sailor suit!

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