Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Game of Life

My weekend is almost at an end. It has been great. We didn't really do anything spectacular or noteworthy was filled with the little things. Jace had a couple of friends over for a sleepover in honor of his birthday so my living room was filled with giggling, wiggling boys. This evening we went out to eat at El Que Pasa, complete with Guerin and Savana (wish we could have had Darian too) so that was a  whole lot of wonderful. I did more loads of laundry today than I can count and the last load is finally in the dryer. I made pasta salad to snack on this week and have everything I need to throw together smothered burritos at a moment's notice.  I've picked out my clothes for work tomorrow and I even know what I'm packing for my lunch.

I feel successful.

But with all of that said, we got some tragic news early Saturday morning. A friend (Greg Budd) from Wisconsin was killed tragically while riding his motorcycle to meet his wife (Lesa) so they could celebrate their anniversary together at campmeeting. A deer plowed into him and, though he was able to call 911 and text his wife, he was brain dead shortly thereafter.

And so, though my weekend has been fabulous, in the back of my mind has been this running thought: while I am laughing and enjoying the sunshine, a family I know has been desemated. 

While doing the dishes on Saturday afternoon, I couldn't help but stare out my kitchen window and wonder: Does every breath that Lesa takes ache?

When I helped Roy with the truck for just a few minutes as he has been working relentlessly to get it in tip-top shape so that when Darian takes it to college in the fall it will be trustworthy, I felt that nagging thought come tumbling in: Lesa is all alone now. Her husband is no longer by her side.

It's utterly tragic. How does one cope with such tragedy? with such a senseless death? How do we make sense of it all?

Greg was one of those men who was genuinely kind, the rock of his family. And so people have been posting on Facebook. One of my previous students who is now a mother of three posted: Why do such awful things have to happen to the best people?

Earlier today I was watching a tv show--a fictional drama--and a young girl who was, in the show, recently converted goes to a boys' home to talk to them about hope. One of the boys sneered and said, If God is so good, why did my family die, leaving me alone?

It is the age-old question that leaves us grappling with the why's of life for which there really are no answers. We can't make sense of more things than we can, frankly. All we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and forging our way through the darkness until, finally, a glimmer of sunlight can be seen somewhere out in the distant fog.

I've been there--maybe not like the blackness Lesa is experiencing tonight. But I've been flat on my back before, screaming why into echoing stillness. I've grappled with questions that left me filled with gut-wrenching agony. My path hasn't always been paved with gold. At some point in life, we will all be there. It's inevitable.

But that reality doesn't make Lesa's any easier to bear. And though she doesn't know it--and most likely never will--I am holding her close in my thoughts tonight. I am rooting for her to keep moving forward, to keep breathing. Most likely that's all she can manage to do right now--just breathe.

And meanwhile, I am going to soak in the moments of my life. On Saturday, a precious friend of mine, Erin, came in to visit for a bit when she dropped off Josh to stay the night with Jace. We were talking about family dinners -- those wholesome moments when we all join together around the table for a meal. Sometimes, these past four years, I feel badly because our family dinners which were once so routine and every day have become...well, a relic of the past. But Erin, in her sweet, empathetic way told me how she refused to feel guilty anymore about not meeting the ideals of her own childhood but, rather, embraced the way life worked for them. And so, if they managed to have family dinner one day a week...well then. Hoorah! Be grateful for the one day! I like that philosophy. It's easy; it's kind to one's self. And today? Well, today I think that's important to remember. Life is short. There are no guarantees. So be kind to others kind to yourself.

I haven't exactly figured out what mealtime is going to look like around here now that I have an 8-5. I haven't quite mastered the art of grocery shopping (other than giving a list to Roy since he is on summer break), nor have I conquered all of the goals I have for myself. The hutch in my dining room is still more cluttered than not. I have a lot of dirt in places that taunts me.

But tonight I am grateful for problems that leave me searching for answers because I am alive to search. I am grateful for laundry that is piled high because it means my family is active and well. I am grateful for dirt that beckons because it means that, barring a tragedy, the day will come when I will clean it, feeling proud and accomplished.

I am thankful that blood flows through my veins, that I have a job to go to in the morning, that I haven't figured out all of the answers to life's greatest questions because it means I am alive. I am a part of this whole human experience that is both beautiful and agonizing. We all share the common bond of tragedy. But we also share the common bond of laughter, of hope, of dreams. We have no right to judge because, really, we are knit together as one. We are all soldiers in this game of life, doing the best we can.

Hugs to you, dear Lesa.


  1. This is so good. I feel like everyone asks that question…why bad things happen to good people. I feel so sad for Lisa…I can't even fathom the pain she must be going through. But it's so true, that the struggles we have in life can be viewed as positive things because facing them means we are alive and able.

  2. "Life is short. There are no guarantees. So be kind to others kind to yourself." Such a good reminder. Great post. And not just cause you said I was a precious friend....:)


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