Remember that part in Back to the Future when that goofy looking bastard with the huge mouth cuts in on George and Lorraine at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance? George begins to walk off, dejected, and Marty begins to fade from existence because this would seem to indicate that his parents will never get together and conceive him. Yet at the last minute George returns, shoves big-mouth to the floor, and kisses Lorraine like the stud he has become. The two fall in love and Marty, along with his future, exist again. Yay!
I call that the "Earth Angel" moment, because if you will recall, that is the song the band was singing at the time, and they hit on the chorus just as Marty leaps totally back into the space-time continuum. A moment where the one very important first domino is knocked over, thus causing the proper chain reaction that leads to the rest of everything.
We all have them, and I often wonder about my own Earth Angel Moments.
What makes such a moment? First and foremost, it is in fact a moment. For example, you cannot say, getting a PhD was an Earth Angel Moment because it wasn't a moment. It was a long, drawn out process. It may have begun with a moment, but the actual attainment is not a moment. Unless something very significant happened at the actual physical moment the degree was placed in your hand.
It also has to be the seed of something good. True, something that starts out good can either turn bad, or have bad branch off consequences. And we can learn and be shaped by pain, I realize that. Yet to qualify in my mind as an Earth Angel Moment, that which radiates from the moment must be, when taken as a whole, an important, positive quantity. (In Marty's case, his existence.) A moment that if it did not happen, you wouldn't be as well off as you are now in some way. Think of the movie: what sort of moment in your life, if it were a movie, would cue the band to play the swelling part of the score as it happened on screen?
Of course the very nature of the Earth Angel Moment is one that usually precludes you from being aware of it as it happens. Without the benefit of a time traveling DeLorean I cannot be certain at the time when I am experiencing something that will change everything eventually. So I rely on retrospect.
Some I can be certain of. The moment I opted to take Acting 101 in college instead of Pottery 101. Going to my first party in college. (It didn't even require puking or anything!) Making a phone call to a specific director of a community show some years after college whom I had been referred to. No doubt things would have been drastically different if any of those things had not occurred.
Then there are those moments that feel as though they are the start of something important, but only time can tell. Starting this blog. Finding a homemade floral headband in a park two summers ago. Deciding to try freelancing. And so on. They have the potential to be Earth Angel Moments when I look back on them later.
In either case I find thinking about Earth Angel Moments to be a healthy and fun exercise. Not only does it remind me of how things sometimes go right even for me, it also reminds me that any given moment could unlock a sequence of events that leads to something major. A career. A spouse. Or something I can't even think of yet.
What were some of your Earth Angel Moments?