Fifteen Minutes


Rebekah Heintz


The phrase “one in a million” is supposed to mean that a person is unique; that they stand out in a crowd. When someone tells me I am one in a million, all I hear is that I am one person in a vast world of millions of people.

Over seven billion humans on this planet, each with their own story, their own beliefs, trials, habits, jobs, family; their own everything. We all perceive things differently. We are all unique but at the same time exactly the same.

As I look at the ancient lava fields in the Snow Canyon of Southern Utah, I see the hundreds of Basalt rocks basting in the hot desert sun. I pick one up, its porous exterior like the pores on my skin. Its surface is charcoal black like the asphalt my feet stand on. I pick up another rock, its characteristics the same as the one before it. One in a million.

I stand there pondering this rock's life. Billions of years ago it was lava pouring out from beneath the earth's crust. It probably felt powerful then. A scorching, mushy goo flowing over the ground destroying everything and paving the way for new life. Or maybe it felt guilty. It killed anything that got too close and couldn’t stop, its own momentum charging it forward.

Maybe it didn’t care. It had been magma for so long; going through the motions unaware of the transformation that was about to occur. Its flesh cooled into a hard, igneous rock that would spend the rest of its days facing the earth's ever-evolving ecosystem and not being able to do anything about it. Battered endlessly by the elements eventually breaking into the rocks scattered at my feet. All of them experiencing the same story, but from their own point of view.

It only takes about fifteen minutes for basalt lava to cool enough for someone to walk on. Fifteen minutes can save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. Fifteen minutes to cook a frozen pizza. Fifteen minutes to drive to work.

Fifteen minutes; such a minuscule amount of time. Yet, like the lava turning into hard basalt rock, so much can change in just fifteen minutes. One day you are sitting on the couch watching TV, and the next you get that call. The one telling you the cancer won. That your dad died. Fifteen minutes ago you were laughing at something stupid Peter Griffin said on Family Guy, and now you are crying in my arms.

The doctors gave him six to eight months, but it could be sooner. Eventually, things will change, and he will move on to the next stage of life. I’ll be here for you when he does.