Car accidents. They occur under different circumstances, in different places, and at different times. Survivors can walk away with minor cuts and bruises or they can come very close to losing their lives. As their stories are told, there are pieces that sound remarkably similar. Moments before and during the impact, they notice fine details of the scene—what the other driver was wearing, the color of the other car, the expression on the driver’s face, the view of the guard rail, what they were thinking, how they were feeling...
In one way or another, time seemed to slow down or pause.
But how is that possible? During accidents, things are moving fast. Really fast in some cases. Death can be a breath away. Yet, people notice details that moments before were unseen or were at least a blur.
I think it may have something to do with our level or our degree of presence. Somehow, presence seems to influence time.
In those split seconds just before and during an accident, the people involved were exquisitely present. They weren’t thinking about their day or what happened last week or what they needed to do next week. Everything else fell away and they were one hundred percent in the moment. Time slowed down and they were able to notice details.
This phenomenon happens at other times in our lives too—when we receive a diagnosis, when we find out a loved one has died, when a child is born, when we fall in love…everything else drops away and we are fully present.
What would life be like if we could live more and more in that degree of presence? What details would we see and how would our experiences and our relationships change?
Maybe this slowing of time is a taste of what happens in eternity. But there we aren’t just fully present for glimpses of time. We are so fully present to God (the Supreme Presence) that time doesn’t just pause, it stops existing altogether.
(Photo Credit: Deb Turnow)
Would you like to be notified of new blog posts? Sign up on the Connect page and the post will be delivered right to you!
Nicole Mills is an oncology nurse, cancer survivor, nerd, and contemplative. She has a secret desire to be a nun or a double-dutch jump rope champion. Not being Catholic or able to jump 2 ropes poses significant hurdles, but she remains hopeful.