I was asked, “Where were you 20 years ago today?”
I remember exactly where I was. I was 21 years-old and learning about life. I was learning about friendships and the difference between love and lust.
On this day 20 years ago, a famous sports figure fled from police in his white Ford Bronco. He was followed by helicopters, and several police cars. He was also followed by the media, and we the people at home, followed his case as well as his trial for murder in the first.
And where was I?
I was sitting in a friend’s house waiting to leave. At the time, I was reeling from my first true romantic break-up. I felt loveless and alone. I was watching the breaking news on television, and listening to my friend talk about money and his supposed connections to a better life.
I was listening to the sound of his wasted energy and watching the news report a chase between law and man.
As I watched, I wondered what the suspect was thinking. I wondered if he had a plan, or if he thought he could actually escape the inevitable.
Then I realized, I know how that feels.
During the wreckage of my past, I put myself in the position where I had to run as fast as I could. I had to run hard, but my legs were not strong enough to carry me away.
I compare my feelings on this to a string of dominoes, and after the first domino begins to fall, it triggered a chain reaction, and the falling line would lead its path directly to me.
I could run if I chose, but the last domino would always land tragically at my feet.
I call that last domino consequence.
I ran with the world closing in on me. The police were behind me, but I knew there was no place for me to go. Even if I escaped their grip, I knew I would have only escaped for the moment.
Eventually, I would be caught and inevitably, I would have to face the charges against me and be held accountable for my actions.
In two words, I was desperate and lost. I was lost the way water loses to the drain and everything around me swirled in its own chaos. I could hear the sirens closing in on me and feel the trapped feeling of closed-in rooms with barred doors and the aroma of stagnant air and uncleaned bodies.
I could already feel the cold steel handcuffs, which clasped tightly around my wrist, and no matter where I turned, I knew this was waiting for me.
I was not in custody yet, but the outcome was certainly on its way. Nevertheless, I ran faster to escape my chaos; however, the trail of falling dominoes was closing in behind me.
Everything I had, everything I knew, and everything I pretended to be was about to change….and all I could do was run.
As I watched the television stream footage of a famous murder suspect, I wondered if he felt as if someone pulled the drain plug on him. I wonder if he felt as I did; as if everything he knew, had, and pretended to be was spiraling down into failure.
Maybe this is why he fled from the police. Like me, the suspect was trying to outrun the consequences of his actions. But unlike us, consequences are never tired of running.
I was no murderer but I knew what it felt like to run. I also knew what it meant to be tired, but I had to keep running because the dominoes were closing in…
I call this the fear of consequence.
20 years ago today, I sat in a bedroom, watching the television record the live pursuit of a brutal murderer. I was thinking about the possible charges that were coming against me. I thought about my misconceptions of love and the fact that no matter how fast I ran, I could never outrun my consequences.
20 years later…..
The older I get the more I understand there is nothing more unchangeable than yesterday.
All I could do is pay for my sins and better myself.
And that too came with consequences
but those consequences were good ones…..