Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Zip-A-Dee Doo Dah: Reflections on a Tragedy

Osama bin Laden is dead. That is not what this post is about, specifically, but it's what the news was talking about when I had the proverbial 'aha' moment I would like to write to ya'll about.

As the TV in my mom's hospital room played All Osama All Day I overheard a newscaster's comment about all those people going on with their normal lives had a plane not crashed into their office building.

Normal lives.

Normal lives.

What does that mean, I thought. I pictured people going home to their families...the same dissatisfaction; the same ordinary, passionless lives they may have been living. With no idea they had just been spared to live another day. Another year. A lifetime.

That's not to say there weren't plenty of people who were happy, living their dreams, appreciating their blessings, loving their families. But that's not who I thought of. I thought of the ones who were contemplating divorce, hurting their children, taking poor care of their bodies, searching for peace and coming up empty. I thought of those who felt like life isn't worth it or thought their problems unsolvable. And even those who were happy-ish; who had a pretty okay life, good friends, a happy family, but still forgot sometimes the beautiful gift that life truly is. I thought of my family and friends, my neighbors, myself.

How do we know we weren't just spared some horrible fate today or yesterday or ten years ago? Actually, I'm pretty sure we were. At some point we've probably all had the divine intervention that saved our physical lives whether we're aware of it or not.

So, how do I muster the kind of gratitude that propels me to 'live like I was dyin'' right in the middle of my ho-hum, blahbity-blah life? I'm not sure. I'm pondering. I'm ruminating. I'm trying to get there. I want to feel like I was just spared my own, personal 9/11 without having to experience the tragedy of it.

Okay, I just realized I need to be very careful what I wish for. I'm certainly not asking for a reality check. What I'm trying to do is avoid the necessity of a reality check.

On paper, I think I have just about the most ideal life a person could possibly be blessed with. So, why is it so hard to live in a state of heightened gratitude? Still working on that. But I'm surely going to try. 'Count Your Blessings.' Is it as simple as that? Maybe so. I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.