April 2015 Archives

Several years ago, at 13 years old, I had to memorize a small speech called Immortality for a civic club in which I was a new member.  Immortality / Death was the subject. This is quite an early age for the big lessons about death to be learned, but I have never forgotten it. In fact, the lines come back to me now, the older I get, because I am at the middle of my life when funerals are as common as weddings. But never more do the words I learned back then ring true than when a young person dies. 

"It may seem strange that we should direct your mind to the thought of death, you so young, so fair, your years so tender, every hope and every ambition, just begins to bud and bloom in your life. But, however fair, however hopeful, we would teach you the lesson that death is no respector of persons. It lays its hands upon the flower and tree; it takes the babe and the mother; it regards not youth, nor youth’s ambitions."

It regards not youth, nor youth's ambitions.  No, it certainly does not.

But lately, there is another time when those words spring to mind; when I hear of mental illness and addiction.  

And today, it's one of the worst days, when all of those three things have come together and a young person, because of his struggles with mental illness and addiction has taken his own life. He was the son of some old friends of mine. Friends who I admire and love.  It's shocking. Like anyone, I am at a loss for good words of comfort.  I am not religious, and even if I was, I can't imagine finding good in this tragedy. Sometimes, probably more often than is admitted, life takes an unexpected, devastating turn for the worst and all one can do is endure the pain.  

That's a lesson that I hope we can teach our kids. Oh, we shelter them, it's true. But somewhere in this wonderful life my husband and I have created for August and Asher, I hope we can teach them how to endure the pain. And I will hope, while I am teaching them this, that they never have to call upon that kind of inner strength the way my old friends and their daughter will have to do in the years to come.

A 20 Year Prayer

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
20 years ago today, it felt like the world cracked open when a bomb exploded under the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, my hometown. For me, that meant that whatever illusion of safety and naivety that was left in me, disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Everything that has happened after, from 9/11 to the Boston Bombing, has been "an addition to" that constant feeling that we are doing something terribly wrong and paying for it. Or perhaps we are failing to see what we can do that is right.

People who commit heinous crimes of uncountable consequence walk among us as our friends before we see their faces on TV news reports. They have family, friends, co-workers - people who say they saw some hints of a problem, but didn't guess the result. In no way do I mean to suggest that the fault lies with the family or friends of these murderers. Yet, I can't help but wonder what it is that allows us to continue thinking the responsibility to find  what causes these people to want to inflict this pain on so many lies with someone else. 

Your daily acts of kindness and peaceful tolerance are a necessity. Thank you. But there is so much more that can be done. Big acts, big results. Just think; there are also people among us who are trying to do great acts with big results. They are friends, family, co-workers. And your support of those efforts is required. 

If you encounter someone who is attempting to make a positive change in the hearts and minds of the human race, encourage that person, fund their project, spread their idea. Because, in the end, we are in control. You choose the forward path. We choose it together.