In my last letter I wrote about how decisions made in a moment—such as the moment when we decided to say yes to your coming into our home—can shape the whole of life, committing us in ways we perhaps never had in mind. And then the task of life becomes living up to the commitments made in a moment.
But moments can shape our life in other ways as well, and some of these ways can be rather terrifying. You’ll recall, I’m sure, that last Christmas you gave me John Feinstein’s book The Punch. It tells the story of just one moment decades ago in a professional basketball game when Kermit Washington instinctively wheeled around and drove his fist into the face of Rudy Tomjanovich, who was running toward him because a fight had broken out. Tomjanovich was seriously injured and could easily have been killed. Although he’s been successful in life since then—he even coached a championship team—that single moment is always with him and shapes who he is.