Tag Archives: life

God did not mean us to be ignorant. He left us this marvelous universe to decipher and understand. ~J. Targett

As much as I hate to admit it, a few years ago I succumbed to the lure of a certain social media website known as FaceCrack, um, Facebook.  I wouldn’t say that I’m addicted to it, but I do log on once or twice each day.   Yesterday morning was no different.  While I was browsing through my news feed, I read a post from a friend that bothered me.  I was so surprised by what she wrote that I read it two more times.

Referring to the Boston Marathon Bombing, she wrote that she was happy she never watched or listened to the news.  She wrote that she was aware that ‘something terrible happened and someone died – that’s it‘.  She went on to write that she didn’t want to know the details of what had happened and even went on to say that those of us that are losing sleep or even (gasp) ‘thinking about this act are giving the devil what he wants!’   Then, her advice was for all of us to turn off our televisions and go on living our lives because knowing all the details of this event was giving the devil what he wants.  Oh, and she said we should pray.  I sat at my computer looking at her words with complete ignorancedisbelief.  Before I go any further, let me say that I’m not judging her, this is how she feels and I respect that.  But it scares me to my very core that there are people like her that feel this way.  People that believe we should  just pretend something like yesterday’s bombing didn’t happen and go on with our happy lives and say a prayer.  In my world, that is not an option.  I don’t think we should spend our every waking moment watching the news and all its despair and tragedy – but it is our responsibility to be informed, aware and compassionate to the events that ultimately shape our lives.   Ignorance is not bliss people, in fact, if you were to use a family tree as a metaphor, ignorance is the grandfather of fear.  And perhaps now we should be afraid – or at the very least, aware and informed.

I think what bothered me most was her comment, “…and someone died”.  Actually, three people died, and they have names.  They were someone’s son, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s classmate.  They were all people who woke up that morning to be part of a wonderful, historical event only to have their lives taken away by some senseless act of terrorism.  Perhaps you should stop reading now, according to my friend, I’m doing what the devil wants by allowing this terrible event to enter my thoughts.  I’m sure the families of the deceased wouldn’t want you to know about Krystle Campbell, who was only 29 years old. I watched with tears as her grandmother described her in an interview.  Krystle’s grandmother said that her granddaughter often went to the see the marathon runners. “She’s been doing it since she was a little girl,” Lillian Campbell said.  “She didn’t miss a marathon, watching it at the finish line.”

Then there was the Boston University grad student who was killed by the blasts.  All we know about her is that she was from China.  China’s consulate in New York announced that she was a Chinese national and at the family’s request, the consulate did not name her.  We do know that she was a graduate student in mathematics and statistics at Boston University who was due to get her master’s degree in 2014.  She graduated from a Chinese university with a degree in international economics.  

And this is what hit me the hardest.  A sweet boy who loved the Red Sox and playing in his yard with his sister (who lost her leg in the bombing).  His name was Martin and he was only 8 years old, about the same age as my Joey. He attended the marathon to cheer on friends andMartin Richards Peace Sign family.  Last May, Martin made a “peace sign” when his school organized a “Peace Walk.” Holding their homemade signs, kids walked around the city making a big statement with a simple act.  Martin’s sign simply said, “No More Hurting People”.  Martin’s father said this yesterday, “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston.  My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.”

“Calvin: The more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you are informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize nothing is as clear as it first appears. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing. Being a man of action, I cannot afford to take that risk.

Hobbes: You’re ignorant, but at least you act on it.”

How in the hell can we just turn off our televisions and ignore this?  It isn’t even in the realm of possibility for me.  This is life people.  At its worst it is messy, confusing, heart breaking and at times, even horrific.  But at it’s best it is wonderful, amazing and beautiful and can take our breath away.  We don’t get to just focus on one and not the other. I don’t understand why events like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing take place, just like I don’t understand why my little boy will never walk, talk, sit or stand.  The “why” question goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, devastating famines in Africa, AIDS and the genocide in Rwanda.

I don’t have an answer to the question, ‘why’, none of us do.  But choosing to not be informed or to ignore these tragic events isn’t the answer, I do know that.  I also can’t choose Why?to ignore ignorance.  You might as well withhold medicine from a very sick patient. Not only will the patient get worse, the disease will spread. Maybe ignorance is a coping mechanism for some, I don’t know.  When it comes to life, I’m not a pessimist or an optimist, I’m more of a realist.  I see things as they are. I don’t sugar coat anything and I don’t want the information I seek to be glossed over.  I cannot pretend something isn’t happening because it might be too painful to acknowledge.  Here’s an example using the cliche ‘glass of water’.  The optimist sees it as half full and the pessimist sees it as half empty. The realist sees there is water in the glass.  The optimist is certain that the water is cold and the pessimist figures that the water is warm.  The realist just sees that there is water in the glass.  The optimist believes it is good water while the pessimist doubts it will be good.  The realist simply sees that there is water in the glass.  That’s a very ‘watered’ down explanation, but you get the idea. 

So, am I going to change anything about my life because of what happened Monday?  No, probably not.  I will go to the park today with my little boy and push him around the trails in his wheelchair and watch him as he smiles and closes his eyes when the breeze blows his way.  During our walk, I will say a prayer for all who were affected by this tragic event.  When we return home and while my son naps, I will work in my garden and I will continue to realize that the world we live in now is nothing like the world I spent my childhood in, and I will grieve for this next generation coming up.  This evening I will turn on the news to see what has gone on in the world and then, sometime after 10:00 p.m., I will check on my babies, kiss them both ‘good-night’ and thank God for another day with them.  But I will not go on living my life like everything is all right in the world, because my friends, it’s not. 

“I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”  ~R. Blades

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If you are sure of tomorrow, there is no fool greater than you.

It’s been quite a week for football in my home.  I read in an article that the only football team in Miami this past Monday night that could compete with Alabama was the Miami Dolphins. Even they may have had a hard time with Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, the NFL’s unofficial 33d team and the official best college football team in the land.  Last night my 49ers dominated the Packers.  While I knew they would win, I watched in awe as they scored touchdown after touchdown – Crabtree was amazing, Kapernick, almost flawless.

But there is much more to life than football and we’ve had a heavy dose of reality over here.  Tragedy struck our  little community when we learned that a student at my daughter’s high school hung himself a few days ago.  His name 736468_10200538249243061_109056266_owas Lee and he was more than just a student.  Lee was one of my daughter’s best friends.  They went to prom together last year. Every day he would walk her to English class and every day they ate lunch together.  This is one of those things you read about in the newspaper, but it never happens to anyone you know.  Gionna visited with Lee at his home just hours before he tried to kill himself.  I say tried because he lived for two more days.  Gionna went to visit him Thursday evening in the ICU and when she came home, she seemed hopeful that Lee would be waking up soon.  That wasn’t in God’s plan. Lee passed away Friday morning.

As parents, we often read books and talk to other parents regarding advice on raising our children.  We do our best to answer their questions and guide them, often drawing from our own experiences.  However, nothing can ever prepare you for when your child ask you why their friend killed himself.  I have no answers, no one does.  I hate to think that his life had become so dark for him that he felt ending his life was his only option.  Lee always made Gionna laugh.  That is the very thing she talked about most when she first met him.  My daughter doesn’t care what race, color or religion you are – if you are a good person and can make her laugh, you’re in.  It’s that simple with her and it’s one of the many things I love about her.  Gionna has countless stories of Lee making her laugh, often at her own embarrassment, and I hope it’s those memories she will draw on during this time, and always.  His death hasn’t hit63697_511446365552878_156739003_n her yet, not completely anyway, and it may take weeks.  She told me last night how going to school on Monday was going to be one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do.  Gionna asked me how would she be able to sit in the lunch room without Lee.  They always sat together and now he’s gone.  Again, I had no answer.

I’ve noticed on various media outlets that many of the students are posting sweet stories and saying very kind things about Lee.  What if we didn’t wait until someone has passed away to let him or her know how much they meant to us.  What if we told each other every chance we got what a difference we made in their lives or how happy we were to see them.  What if we took just ten minutes out of our day to call each other – not text, not snap chat, not tweet, not a FaceBook status … but make an actual phone call or stop by for a visit.  Our society and specifically. this generation, no longer knows much about the fine art of conversation.  We are becoming very self-absorbed and selfish.  We think what we don’t say or do today we can just do tomorrow, but sometimes, we can’t.  Tomorrow is not promised to you or me.  Leo Buscaglia said it best when he wrote,

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 

Stop what you are doing now and call your mom, your sister, your best friend, make a human connection with someone.  Tell them you love them.  If they are with you now, hug them.  If they enjoy getting mail, sit down and write a letter, yes – with a pen and paper.  It really is the little things people – trust me on this one.  I’m in my home day after day with my adorable little boy who has a terminal illness.  Due to progression of his disease, we are housebound except for when his nurse comes for a few hours to watch him.  I promise your sweet ass, when someone comes by to visit or brings dinner over and stays to eat with us – I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.  A phone call from a friend, priceless.  Opening my mailbox and seeing a card, instant smile.  I may look high maintenance and complicated, but at my core, I’m just a person who every now and again, likes to know that I’m not going through this journey called life alone.  I think that’s all any of us want.

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