A week ago a woman who my husband went to high school with rolled over in her vehicle on a frontage road and died. She was 34 years old and left behind her husband, and high school sweetheart, and two young daughters. My husband is friends with her husband and has worked with him in the construction world on and off through the years.
Upon hearing this tragic news I was reminded once again about the fragility of life and how we really never know what is going to happen from one day to the next. I was also reminded about the importance of gratitude and the expression of love and kindness towards one another. It is easy to forget that this day, today, truly is a gift. It is easy to forget just how incredibly much we have to be grateful for each and every moment.
Over the weekend I was reading the news online and came across a story about a shooting that happened in Florida. A man took the lives of 6 people and then was shot and killed by police. Among the victims was a 17-year old girl. In another story the body of a young woman was found after a boat crash the night before left two people missing just outside of New York City. The story went on to mention how the young woman was about to get married and a quote that ended the article said: “She was one of my students and a bright, sweet girl loved by everyone,” she said. “I knew that she was getting married, and to Brian (her soon to be husband and an injured party in the same boat accident). To happen to two such special kids — it just shouldn’t happen.” And in Indiana three people were killed and 26 were sent to the hospital when a bus, minutes from returning home from a church camp in Michigan, rolled over after exiting from the interstate. These situations all happened around the U.S on Saturday. Tragedy happens everywhere everyday.
It is important to keep in contact with the suffering that happens around the world and it is equally important to cultivate balance in how much we absorb and what we take away from these tragic events. If we are not solid in our practice upsetting news can wash us down the river of negativity and hopelessness. If we are not careful we can become numb, jaded, or apathetic to the grave loss and struggles of others. Devastating events have a lasting impact on the families, friends, and communities involved and can create deep wounds.
My take-aways from these recent events: Life can change very quickly. Life is extremely precious. We are all in this life together, connected. It is important to cultivate gratitude everyday – it is far too easy to take people, places, and things for granted. This moment is all we know we have for sure.