[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #4 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]
Police cars sound in the distance. A look of sheer panic flashes in her eyes as she begs her teacher to know if it is yet another bomb threat.
An over-the–road truck driver’s family learns of his whereabouts when he does not return home at the end of dropping his load. No one would have guessed he would never make it home alive.
“If I could ask my son one question, I would ask him how it felt, after he pulled that trigger, to fall into the arms of Jesus,” sobbed a grieving Pat, the father of a colleague who committed suicide at the end of school last year.
One common thread binds these three stories together. One consistent — dare I say, “friend” — proves to be there.
Tragedy… those events, which cause each of us great suffering, destruction, and distress.
Tragedy comes in many shapes and sizes. You know those moments… those that nearly do us in, leaving us breathless.
The truth is stingingly real. Not a one of us is immune to tragedy. Each of us is impacted by the tragedies that touch our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a something that changes within us. Whether it is our thought process or our coping skills, I am not sure.
Or maybe it is our hearts. No one can answer that question for us. We must each take the time to look at who we are from the inside out.
Another profound aspect of tragedy is that it plays no favorites. It does not concern itself with demographics or statistics. It comes when it comes…
Maybe it is a mass shooting such as Sandy Hook or Columbine. It could be a bomb threat at a school in rural southern Indiana “where things like that just don’t happen.” It could be the events that push a college friend to see no other way out but to take his own life. Or, even more surreal, perhaps it is that over-the-road truck driver who is your brother that was out of your life more than he was in and is now gone far too soon.
Hear my heart. Regardless of what your tragedy may look like, it is okay to own it and be real with exactly where you are. If a struggle is there: say so and then let’s figure out how to rise up. We are all in this boat together friends! We are all a HOT MESS!!
At the very least, we all have the great potential of becoming a hot mess.
Just think how much sweeter this world of ours would be if we could only recognize that place in each other. We have to start within ourselves. We have to allow ourselves to walk in the freedom of knowing that we are all on level ground; we are not so different from one another.
Tragedies and joys alike are going to come. We will each face these moments in our lives. And we can all rise above.
So this is my challenge to each of us…
Can we strive to walk this road together? Can we walk beside each other, leaving room only for love, grace, and respect — and the freedom to do so regardless of what that looks like for each of us? … knowing it will look differently for each of us?
With you in the fray… respectfully…
The Hottest of Messes