What can you say about the 19 men who died June 30th? What is there to say? Where are the words with which to say or write something?
We returned from a glorious Road Trip this morning only to read the news. We were devastated. Shocked. Stunned. Speechless.
We have been quiet all day today. It is such an enormous tragedy of such epic proportions that we can't really grasp it yet. It's too early somehow to comprehend. All those questions of "Who, What, Why, Where, When and How" rattle 'round our brain like an empty litany.
What does it matter? They are all dead. Yes, somebody, someplace, somehow will eventually tell us how it happened in a 400 page report. There will be the inevitable investigation. Experts will sit at a table and intone many technical terms. But they are dead and gone and no amount of rehashing the event will bring them back.
So why are we writing this? Death is not kind. Death does not make appointments. Death does not care whether you think it's your time to go. Death has it's own agenda.
When such a tragedy happens, it makes us think a lot about Death and The so-called "Meaning of Life." What, afterall, is life all about? Is it about charging full bore into the face of raging flames against all odds? Or is it about carefully plodding along only to meet Death at the least expected, most inopportune time?
Whence and wither will Death come to each of us as it is wont to do? We know not. Mostly, we fear not. We forge ahead, mostly oblivious to the inevitable, thinking perhaps we might be The First Lucky One to Live Forever and Dodge Death's skeletal Grim Reaper Face.
We think of those men, some merely 21 years of age who perished Sunday evening. Did they arise Sunday morning thinking it would be their last day on earth? No, we can practically guarantee you not one of them thought that thought. They had a job to do and they planned to go do their job.
But by sundown Sunday, they were all dead. That's the way Death Deals it's Deadline. Like it or not, when it's your day to die, you go forward into the great beyond as did your brothers and sisters for the past many millenia. There isn't anything you can do about it.
I always had this running argument with my late Mom. Whenever someone would die, she would always lament they "went before their time." I, in turn, would always reply that they died because "it was their time to die." She would get really worked up and say it wasn't their time to die-"They died too early," she would say. I simply said, "The fact they died today proves it was their time to die."
We argued back and forth with the same lines for many years. I was steadfast in my point and she in hers. Neither of us gave ground and the argument was never settled when she passed away in December 2011. I know that My Mom died when she did because "it was her time to die." I know that when I die it will be "my time to die."
I doubt I will be caught with 18 of my Friends and Brothers in a Biblical conflagration, but I know that I will indeed die. Whether it will be sooner or later is something only The Almighty God Knows.
In the meantime, I know that I will redouble my efforts to spend each and every day as if it is my Last Day on Earth. I owe it to my forebears. I owe it to my Friends. I owe it to Susun. I owe it you, Dear Friend. Expect nothing less of me from this day forward.
We may not arise on any given morning expecting to die by sundown but, trust me, the possibility is ALWAYS there.
If there are things you have been wanting to do--do them. If there are things you have been wanting to say to someone, say them. Do not wait until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.
Live you life to the fullest each and every day.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is the Future. Today is a GIFT! That's why they call it "The Present!"
Many Cheers Forever! jp
You, John, have given of yourself to so many others in more ways than you may know and from my viewpoint already appear to live life to the fullest. You have many gifts and talents and the one that allows you to share so much of yourself with so many others may be one of the best. I know how hard this tragedy hits home for you and so many others, myself included, and as Steve works a fire incident as we speak, let's pray others remain safe. You are both special friends to me.
Incredibly well said. I love you Brother John!
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