Saturday, May 28, 2011

The sobering reality

"I'm graduating today!!" Those were some of the last words left in public from a young man in Joplin, Missouri just hours before his vehicle was caught in the massive tornado that almost leveled a city of 175, 000 people. He was on his way home from grad, his father by his side and mom and sister in the car behind them. The tornado must have come on quickly and somewhat unexpectedly if the school was still holding grad ceremonies, though I'm sure the warning signs were present. Maybe the family was on their way to a safe place or maybe they were marveling at the rapidly changing weather conditions but somewhere along the way things got really bad. When the winds hit they hit hard and fast. Wills father told him to pull over or turn around or something, but it was far too late. The vehicle they were in was hit full force and basically started spinning and bouncing off the ground as the mother and sister observed from their car, watching as their closest family members were going through something I wouldn't even want to imagine. Apparently the force of the twisting wind was so great that Will's seatbelt snapped and he was pulled out through the sunroof, his fathers arms around his waist, trying to keep him in the vehicle. Somehow Will must have known his end was near because he was reciting the lords prayer over and over again. His father held on until he lost consciousness and then Will was gone.
They found his body late last night.
An entire shattered city picks up the pieces, accounts for their lost lives and desperately searches for those that are still missing. Children, parents, family and friends who just a week prior were going about their lives are now faced with having to rebuild everything and to somehow move forward.
Here in my cushioned, privileged life my "problems" are nothing compared to what those people are going through. My home is intact, my friends and family are well alive and I have a job to go back to tomorrow. There are no bombs going off in my backyard and there are no mountains of bloodied bodies being scooped up and away as a result of a suicide bombing. Granted, there are these sketchy threats of the "quake that will kill us all" but that is neither here nor there. Right here and now I am safe, happy and healthy and for this I must be grateful. 
I have barely been touched by death. No one in my immediate life has passed on aside from my grandparents and though sad and all, old folks giving up the ghost is an accepted and understood part of the human condition. I have never had anyone "stolen" from me and so I cannot understand the pain of having to pick up the pieces after something so sudden as, say a car accident, heart attack or a tornado. 
Undoubtedly I will be faced with the issue of death. My parents are getting older and one day I will have to bury them both. I hate that reality but it is unavoidable and I know that I can never be truly prepared for when that day comes. I don't even want to think about it. I'm sure that one day I will lose a friend or someone closer before I'm ready to say goodbye and that reality also sucks but we can't hold on forever. We can only hope for the best and to live each day to the max. That is the best I can do in these matters. That is all I can offer. 
I can appreciate that I live in a relatively safe place and though it's true that pretty much anything can kill you I take solace in the fact that religious nutbars aren't running around blowing shit up and that we're not living in an area notorious for killer weather. I do not feel threatened. For this I am grateful. 
I'm not exactly sure why Will Norton's story hit me in the way that it did. God knows people are dying in horrible ways all of the time and the "unfairness" of life rears it's many faceted head on the regular. So why take notice of this freshly graduated stranger from the States? Perhaps it was the uncertainty of what had become of him while he was missing for most of last week. Perhaps it was because this missing person had become a face and a personality with a horrible story that ignited the hope and prayers of thousands. I watched as a Facebook page in his honor blew up from 189 to over 50,000 followers in just a couple of days, scores of kind hopeful words offered to the family who regularly updated us and kept it personal by replying and offering thanks to everyone that they could, and never for a second did they give up hope. They kept searching until Will was found and even still they are out there in search of others who are missing, their inexhaustible faith being the only thing keeping them standing.
I cannot fucking imagine, and before last week I probably didn't even want to but this beautiful kid with the world in his hands brought so many together in life and death and reminded me of how important it is to love what you've got and to never let go for a second. 
I sit here at my backyard picnic table in the sun, the sweetest cat in the world is at my side and my awesome room-mates are prettying up the yard. I have a lover who I am completely head over heels for and though sick in bed she is neither missing nor suffering from a bullet wound to the back. I have an awesome neighborhood in which to stroll and a job to walk into tomorrow. Emotional bullshit, sickness and stubbing my toe is nothing to complain about, in fact they are nothing at all. Right now all over the world there are people wearing the thickest armor of grief and hardship. Some may never know the scent of freshly cut grass or their lovers neck, but so many of us do know these things and sadly they are so easily taken for granted.
I sit here in this back yard in early spring, thinking about life, thinking about death, thinking about Will, his family and every other human being who is experiencing so much pain.....and selfishly I feel so lucky to be alive and able to think of these things and to learn from them.
I sit in this sun drenched yard having bolstered my faith and ability to give thanks for a beautiful life. However short or fraught with hardship, I will do my best to appreciate every moment and to never....ever give up hope. I hope so many of you try to do the same.
No truer words are spoken when i say, thank you i LOVE you!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Been a long time

Yeah, I miss it here too. Inspiration lack and busy times add up to little free hand writing times. But I'm hoping to goodness that some words spill forth this weekend. I've got a block of time on Saturday that I'm reserving just for you, my little writey write blog. So please stay tuned and keep heart. I've not lost the muse, she just took a walk in the deep woods and got lost. Luckily I tied some string to her ankle so I could reel her in when she got too far.
I hope all are healthy, happy and holy. 
Much love.