Last Friday, 14 December, 2012, an unspeakable horror was visited upon the town of Newtown, Connecticut. At the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the day started like any other. Everyone was involved in the course of learning, and going about their normal routine. The teachers and children were looking forward to the holiday break, and spending time with family. Everyone was looking forward to wonderful meals, maybe some traveling, but mostly, just some relaxation. Everyone expected their families to be home for dinner.
All of that changed in the blink of an eye when a mentally unbalanced young man entered the school and shot to death 20 children (ages 6 – 10), and 6 adults. I will tell you that as I watched this unfold (along with most of our nation), I was in tears and could not even speak. Six -year-olds? Really? I felt so bad for those parents who would find out that their child wasn’t coming home that day … as would the families of the principal, the psychologist, and the teachers. I felt for the police and first responders who had to go in and see that carnage. And then, there were the people who worked tirelessly through the weekend doing the tasks none of us would ever want to do, so that the families might have any semblance of closure, and could begin to grieve.
Since then there has been a lot of discusion regarding ways we might prevent this from happening again. I will NOT address those issues in this space. One positive consequence of this tragedy is that it brought the country together, if only for a short time. What I have not seen discussed is just how fragile life is.
People in general, and especially those with a little bit of quality recovery under their belt, tend to take things for granted. We assume we will wake up tomorrow. We assume that we will drive to work and arrive safely. We put off playing with children and spending time with them because in our mind, there will be time for that. We put off saying “I love you” because that person we would say it to knows we love them. So many things we do or don’t do, because we are so sure there will always be time later.
As we have seen, there are NO guarantees in life. Period. Tomorrow is NOT an iron-clad promise. That is why it is so important not to waste a single minute on useless nonsense like worry, fear, and hate. That is why we should make everything we do count for something in the best possible way, everyday. Even the things we think are little things, might mean so much to someone else. So … remember to spend time with your kids, and your partner. Remember to let them know how much you care and what they mean to you. And … don’t take anymore days for granted.