It is likely that either we have been involved in a life-altering situation, or know of someone whose life was forever changed by an incident that could have turned out differently were it not for how a few seconds turned out.

For example, pausing to have an extra piece of toast for breakfast might have kept someone out of an intersection when another driver blew through a stop sign.

I wonder how many marriages can be traced back to a quirky few seconds that meant the difference between meeting for the first time and the happy couple never laying eyes on each other.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to be able to look over our shoulder and see where providence had our back, and then there has to be countless times when we are oblivious to the difference that a few seconds have made in our life, for better or worse.

One recent Sunday I encountered a situation that obviously hinged on how a handful of seconds played out.

As I shared last week in this space I am getting back in the habit of walking regularly here in the "hood." And while I recognize the importance of getting that exercise, I also know I have no business being out regardless of the temperature outside. Consequently, while my son, Caleb, was willing to go walking at 1 p.m. on that toasty afternoon, I preferred waiting until a cooler part of the day. As it turned out, "cooler part of the day" meant almost 8 p.m. when Caleb, his mother and my bride, Nancy, and I headed out for our stroll. Had we gone out any earlier or later we would have missed something special.

Other time-related variables also came into play. After spotting a pit bull running loose up ahead we altered our route, which added a little bit of time. And then there is my walking pace, which definitely is much slower than it once was. But were I able to walk faster what ultimately happened might not have occurred.

As it turned out the timing was absolutely perfect for us to encounter Rick, who lives just a couple of houses from the Henley hacienda. While I could be wrong I feel safe in saying that Rick might be one of the "hood's" most spiritual inhabitants as it frequently seems he is either heading to or returning from an activity at the church he attends. On this particular evening he was just arriving home from a prayer service.

As frequently happens Rick inquired about my Parkinson's and how I am doing. I provided my stock response of that I am hanging in there.

"Would you like me to pray for you?" Rick asked.

"Sure," I responded because you never want to turn down someone willing to pray in your behalf who might actually have God on speed dial.

Quicker than you can say "hallelujah" Rick pulled a small vial of amber-colored liquid from his pocket, took the cap off and put a bit of it on my forehead before addressing the Almighty. Rick proceeded to pray for my physical healing and spiritual well-being. For good measure he also offered prayer in behalf of Caleb and Nancy.

I am thankful that the timing worked out so that we could encounter Rick that Sunday evening and for a neighbor's prayer.

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