Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another Rent in the Fabric

The two days started in eerily similar ways: taking a walk, chatting with a loved one, complaining about the petty annoyances of everyday life. Soccer practices at inconvenient times. Christmas dinner with a slightly dysfunctional family. The minor frustrations of life that seemed like terrible dilemmas at the time.

Even the weather on those days was similar, though one boasted the bold blue skies of a waning summer and the other the cold crisp promise of the coming winter. Finishing the walk, grabbing some water, stretching our legs, heading back to the routine.

And then the curtain was torn.

And the following hours were spent mesmerized by the media frenzy, in shock over the depths of human depravity, and deeply questioning how it could come to this and how we could ever recover.

Before and after. Then and now. Defining lines in the continuum of time.

After that first day – 9/11/01 – I had hoped that I would never witness another rent in the fabric of normalcy. After the second day – 12/14/12 – I realize that the cloth may be irreparably tattered. 

What I know for sure is that the things I complained about, whined about – okay, bitched about – during my early-morning walks both days are insignificant irritations I would gladly reclaim as the worst problems in life. I wonder what the families of both sets of victims were grumbling about the morning before they kissed their loved ones goodbye for what would be the last time. Perhaps that pain is the one that resonates most with all of us: things left unsaid – and worse, things said that now can never be undone. 

We hear all the time about “living in the moment” and cherishing each day. But how many of us do it? I know I will write this today and probably kvetch about something stupid five minutes from now. It is human nature.
I did not personally know the victims of either 9/11 or the Sandy Hook school shooting. But they are all our families; they are all our friends; they are all our children. We all want to help yet feel helpless. There are no words, no actions, no way to change the past. But we can make today count. We can cherish the normal day.

I’ll end with this poem that I found years ago … when, at least to my mind, there were many more Normal Days.
Author: Mary Jean Iron

Normal day, let me be aware
of the treasure that you are.
let me learn from you, love you,
bless you before we depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest
of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
let me hold you while I may,
for it may not be always so. one day
I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself tart,
or raise my hands
to the sky and want, more
than all the world, your return.

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