When days like October 2, 2017 happen in Las Vegas, when the news blares about yet another mass shooting, when you see the death toll rising every time you check your phone, those are the days that feel raw and vulnerable and achy. Those are the days that seem senseless. But in reality those days may be the most valuable in making sense of it all.
My oldest had a melt-down today about math homework. Math homework. Then my 4th grader and I worked on his science project all day. All day. The laundry is spilling out of the laundry baskets. And somebody forgot to go grocery shopping. I had some work deadlines on top of it all too.
And on any given day, those things would have been enough to put me over the edge.
But today. Today, when life feels fragile, I have perspective.
I want to lose my mind about the math homework melt-down. Normally a science project shuts our family down. And often I drag my feet about laundry and groceries.
But there are fifty-eight families who woke up to find out that they permanently have an empty chair at their dinner table.
My math homework buddy is going on 13. He’s old enough to know about these big events in the world. So I interrupted math homework melt-down to tell him about what happened in Las Vegas. He could see it. He could see how silly things seem in light of tragedy.
And then there was the science project. On other occasions, my kids may have gotten grumpy mom as their science project assistant. But today we worked hard. We felt accomplished in a job well done. And mom kept her cool the whole time. My boy and I were together. There are 58 other families that would have been grateful beyond measure to be doing even the most mundane tasks with their loved ones. I got to help my buddy with his homework. What a privilege!
There’s nothing like loss to help you realize how much you have.
I gotta think that if these victims of this horrific Vegas tragedy could speak to us from beyond, they’d remind us, “Don’t waste it. Don’t waste it!”
The sleeping toddler, her curls sticking to her face. The great big smile of teenage cashier at Dion’s. Warm coffee. Pink Sandias. Comfy socks. Hot showers. A cuddly puppy. Soapy dish water. A neighborly wave. Fresh cut grass. A joke that’s so funny because it’s not funny. A good book. The perfect word. A great song. Sweet friends.
This one and only life. It’s the only life we’ve got. These perfectly mundane, every day, beautiful things.
So we ate pizza commando because there was no clean laundry. And because no one went grocery shopping. But we laughed across the table. We watched the sun sink low. And we read a book before bed. We loved each other. And the other stuff didn’t matter all that much.