I got the message sitting frozen on the bleachers at my daughters soccer practice. The little girl who was hit by a car around the block earlier this week died today, my daughter text. My heart shattered, even though I didn't personally know her. She went to school with my son. That was close enough. Too close almost.
In the five years we have lived here, six children have died from either terminal illness or tragic accident. That's the thing about living in a small town. Tragedy is condensed. There's only a few degrees of separation between everyone. News travels fast here. Sometimes its for the worst, others the better.
It's times like this that really get me thinking. I feel guilty about any kind of complaining. It makes me take a longer harder look at my own blessings, stare them straight in the face(always a challenge) for a reality check about the things I should be grateful to have.
Society doesn't make it easy. We are inundated with tv ads and social media telling us who we should be. Telling us what should make us happy. I'll admit, I've been guilty of it. Resentful of the girl with the job she loves, the gorgeous home, loving attentive husband and well behaved kids. Hell yeah I'd want that.
That's also what society wants me to think.
It's human nature to want the next best thing, it's what keeps us moving and prevents stagnation.
The truth is, in times like this, more than ever, my eyes are wide open. As bad as things may seem, someone always has it worse.
It's like when I was little. Every night before I went to sleep my sister and I used to tell each other one thing we had to be happy about or look forward to. These were the thoughts we fell asleep to.
I think back to those days and say maybe we weren't that far off. But I wonder at the same time, if as a society we spend too much time fantasizing and worrying about the future we lose sense of the present. We miss those moments, and we cant get them back.
A family within a few miles of me is mourning the death of a child. Every time they drive by that telephone pole in town they will think of their daughter. The last place they saw her. I'll jog past that same pole everyday and think God damnit I'm lucky. I'll still feel a heavy sadness, but I still get to go home to my kids. Honestly, I cant think of anything else that's more important.