I know this is a column about life and all the funny little things that can happen when living it. I hope you generally enjoy it. Yet, that’s the thing about life: it’s not always happy.
We learned this summer about a little boy in our community who was gravely injured in a backyard accident doing nothing more than the exact same thing countless people do everyday without incident.
His injury is probably extremely rare. One in a million even. I can only imagine what his mother is going through.
Reality and statistics must mean nothing when it’s your child. Your child is that one and suddenly that one is a very big and important number. When that door opens and your child — or his health — is standing on the other side and you are powerless to help, it must be the most difficult thing in the world.
How impossible to accept that you, who was born to be this child’s mother, cannot make it all better. I always imagine that parents of an ill or injured child were in my shoes not too long ago.
Unless they were born ill, everyone who has a sick or injured child once had a healthy child, which means they’re not very different from me or you at all.
Their child was a “normal” happy and healthy kid who left shoes by the door and milk on the counter and lost toys between the sofa cushions.
And then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, the unthinkable — unspeakable — happens. Thus, they were all me at one point.
Going about their daily life, enjoying themselves but maybe taking it all for granted, too (at least I know I do). Then they — we — are struck with the powerful realization that life is so fragile and that the delicate balance of our health, happiness and very existence is held together by a very fine thread that can snap so easily and without warning.
That is when you realize nothing in this life is so sacred that it cannot be taken away.
Matters. I’ve heard so many tragic stories like this one lately that my heart hurts. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but it’s true.
Life seems so unbearably fragile lately. I am a pessimist. I tend to see the glass half-empty. I believe carrying an umbrella will prevent the rain. I have to predict the worst in order that I might be pleasantly surprised if it does not come to pass.
Maybe that’s the key … always expect it.
I hope we can all take the time to appreciate the simple moments that really aren’t so simple at all. To remember that what matters is health and family and friends, and safe harbor. Not housing rates, the global market or the price of gasoline.
Tonight I’m thinking about all the children — and their parents — for whom fate turned on a dime. Or a lump, a bump, a bad break, or bad brakes. All the lives impacted in the moment when time, and reality, were forever altered. For all those whose lives are sharply divided by a distinct “before” and “after.”
Today I want to hug my children a little harder, be kinder to my friends and say an extra special prayer for all of us whose destinies and realities are waiting right around the corner.
It says so much about what we have and what we think is important that what we think we cannot bear to lose and what we can survive are two different things.
That what we think is untouchable and important really isn’t. That in the end, the only thing that cannot be destroyed is our faith. It is the power to help us and carry us through.
In truth, it is shameful how often I pray that I am not tested, even as I pray for those that are.
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