RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Say a prayer for Matthew Szulik and his family today.

Regardless of your faith, take a moment to remember the Szuliks who apparently face a health crisis that’s so severe Szulik is walking away from his CEO job at Red Hat.

If you are an agnostic or atheist, wish the Suzliks the best.

Fame and fortune, stock options and riches, the power of the executive suite, the rush derived from running a successful, growing global venture suddenly don’t mean as much to Szulik. He said so Thursday in telling a stunned company and as equally jolted technology community that he is quitting as CEO to take care of a family illness.

“For many years, my face has been pressed up against the windshield trying to look into the future,” he wrote in a blog published at Red Hat, the world’s top Linux software developer.

Now his face is pressed against another windshield – not technology but family.

In a conference call to discuss another strong quarter for earnings, Red Hat disclosed Szulik’s departure. He will remain as chairman of the board. But the day-to-day global grind is something he is putting aside.

When someone in your family is ill – or you are struck by some sort of malady – priorities change.

Moments with loved ones are more treasured than ever.

Instead of watching CNBC or Bloomberg, you take the family out to dinner and a movie.

Instead of flying half way around the world to court new clients and retain current ones, you take that long-delayed vacation.

Yes, when something goes wrong with health you realize how mortal you and loved ones are.

There’s plenty of time to assess what Szulik’s departure means to Red Hat as a business. The analysts are already offering their opinions. Red Hat’s board put in place James Whitehurst, a former executive at Delta Air Lines, after an extended and secretive search. And Wall Street will soon express its reaction by selling or buying Red Hat shares.

Right now, Szulik’s priority is his family. “A message from Matthew” is how Red Hat titles the blog he wrote about his decision to step down.

Here’s a message to Matthew and family:

God’s speed.