Two years ago, I wrote about a conversation I had with Bryce about a train accident Grandpa was involved in when he was in the army. Two civilians and one soldier were killed. Grandpa said the man who died had been sitting in his seat and had asked to switch seats before the fatal crash, so that man, Corporal Thomas Vest, died, and Grandpa survived with just a back injury.
I recently read a book which involves time travel, so I got to thinking about what would be the implications if one of Corporal Vest’s three brothers had climbed aboard a time machine and had boarded that train in order to prevent him for switching seats with Grandpa. How many lives would have been affected by that action?
In the most basic analysis, one could argue that the number is seventeen—Grandpa’s five children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. But what about the eight spouses, who may have married others, producing a different set of children?
We can’t just stop there, because each never-born life in that alternate scenario touched countless other lives. How would the lives of those people be altered if those seventeen people had never been born?
Would the world still be taking selfies and communicating on their cell phones if I had never been around to invent it? As a nurse, Aunt Ar has dealt with countless patients in the hospitals she has worked in over the years, so I believe that a world without her may have erased a few lives from this planet. She will argue against this theory, but I stand firm in my belief.
We all remember a favorite teacher, whether it be because of a lesson they taught, an unfair punishment they imposed upon the class, or a private conversation we had with one of them. Jamie has taught hundreds of students in her short time as an educator. Her absence may have been, or may someday be felt by at least one of those students.
Is there job that Casey’s company may not have won had it not been for her attention to detail? Is there a bride whose wedding photos may have been ruined that rainy day when Kelly went to Plan B to ensure the weather would not destroy those precious mementos? How many soldiers were comforted by the family pictures she provided them before their deployment?
How many fish may have died if Chris had not rushed into work to feed them when bad weather prevented his coworkers from doing so? And will the world be robbed of watching the inauguration of President Lily and the Mars landing of Astronaut Bryce if Grandpa had remained in that death seat on that train??
I can go on, but I think you get the idea.
Grandpa claimed that he continued to be reminded of that November day in Georgia for the rest of his life because his back hurt whenever he tried to pick up his children and grandchildren. The thing is, he had fifty-six more years—“the rest of his life.” Corporal Vest did not, but that one request gave the rest of us our lives.
Each of us touches the lives of so many others in ways we may not even know, and one small change of course can profoundly alter the future of countless individuals. It’s mind boggling when you think about the implications!