This morning over coffee with family someone said it takes only a moment to change someone's life. The content of the comment was made during a discussion on how quickly a young person can go from an adolesent to an adult based on a single experience. Although I was quick to agree with the comment simply based on a common sense reaction, I later tried to recall my own one minute of life changing moment. Within a few minutes I nailed it.
Several years ago a cousin was murder on the street where I spent most of my childhood. He was my role model, my protector, and everything I envisioned a brave and proud man represented. At the time of his death I was in my early twentys. This was in the early to mid 1970's when I lived in a small town in Orange County working for an electronic factory. Three years earlier I left East Los Angeles to escape years of street violence, drugs, gangs, and boredom. I thought in the process I may find the purpose of life because I thought life had to be more than simply surviving to the next day. Then one day while visiting family I received a phone call that my cousin was being taken to the County Hospital.
When minutes I arrived at the hospital to find my cousin in post-op and heard the nurse say he would die at any second. I walked into the room alone (although I was with my father but he did not want to walk into the room) and I immediately saw my cousin on a bed with his head wapped in bandages. I later learned that his head had been savagely beaten open with a metal object. As I stood by the bed staring at my cousin a nurse suggested I touch his body before he died, which I did. Immediately upon placing my hand on his chest I felt a fast flow of energy go up my arm and into my chest. At the same moment my cousin passed-away. I quicklly turned to the nurse who had suggested I touch my cousin but he was no way to be seen.
It was at that moment that my life changed forever. I immediately became convinced that I had to commit my life to something greater than myself and to help my community and this world a better place to live. Within weeks I had quit my job, sold all my belongings and enrolled in college with the determination of becoming an attorney. Within a few months I became very active in the struggle to bring about social and economic change for working people, which I am still doing today as a labor law attorney representing some of the most progessive and creative unions in Los Angeles. Yes at that moment my life changed forever.
So, I ask you this question. What was your life changing moment?