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    « One-word Wednesday: Trust | Main | Music to my ears plus the GRAND Social grandparent link party »
    Tuesday
    Oct162012

    Sense, bright sides, and days when neither exist

    The ever-so-courageous lion.Two things you may or may not know about me:

    1. I like things to makes sense.

    2. I like to look on the bright side.

    Yesterday I struggled with news that made no sense, provided no bright side.

    And I don't like that.

    The past few months, my state has seen too many events that make the news, things that make no sense and have no bright side. The Waldo Canyon fire. The Aurora shootings. The heartbreaking story of Jessica Ridgeway.

    We humans are born with a courageous spirit, one we're meant to put to good use throughout our lives to accomplish things great and small. I firmly believe that—despite the personally frustrating fact I lack courage far more often than not.

    Those unfortunate events of late, though, had nothing to do with courage and everything to do with, well, with things happening for no good reason, making no sense.

    Like most folks, I prefer stories of courage, in the news and otherwise. Retellings of how every single day millions of people beat a fatal illness, accomplish an incredible feat, overcome harrowing challenges, come to terms with odds no one ever expected to face, make a difference in personal worlds or the world at large.

    The most recent example is the oh so courageous—some might even say crazy—Felix Baumgartner, who leapt from more than 24 miles high in the sky, landing safely to become the first man to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or spacecraft.

    What an extraordinary thing to do, and how incredible that he survived unscathed.

    But then there are people who do completely average and ordinary things and don't fare so well.

    Yesterday provided glaring evidence of such contrast.

    Just after reading the newspaper account of Baumgartner's courage and derring do, I heard reports of an automobile accident a few miles from my home. A horrible affair in which two women—one a mother, the other a grandmother, pushing a 14-month-old in a stroller as they walked home after dropping off a total of five kids at school—were plowed down, killed by an SUV as the driver dashed to work or someplace apparently equally important to her.

    It makes no sense. One man dares to perform a death-defying act and does exactly that—defies the sensible outcome, which would be death. Yet two women who likely never even considered death a possibility of their actions, that courage would be a requirement of their walking kids and grandkids to school, will never return home or to their loved ones again.

    I get that bad things happen to good people all the time. That ordinary people doing ordinary things end up victims of unfortunate, unforseeable circumstances.

    All the while a man jumps from far above the earth and falls into fame, good fortune, accolades and a forever place in history.

    It makes no sense—the ordinary, the extraordinary, and how things turn out.

    I don't begrudge Baumgartner his accomplishment of the truly awesome, incredible feat. I'm amazed he dared to jump from such heights, am inspired by him and his courage.

    I just want things to make sense. More importantly, I want there to be a bright side for the families of those ordinary women who dared to cross the street yesterday morning, ending their lives and changing forever the life of the woman driver.

    The baby, reportedly pulled by a witness from the mangled stroller, is in ICU but expected to survive. I suppose that could be considered the bright side.

    I find it hard to wrap my head around that being a bright side, though, when that baby and a handful of other kiddos are left without a mother, a grandmother.

    Perhaps it's at such times that our inherent courage is meant to kick into gear—to help us fearlessly accept that sometimes things simply make no sense, that sometimes there is no bright side.

    Thing is, as I mentioned above, I unfortunately lack courage more often than I'd like. Yesterday was one of those days. At least when it came to accepting nonsense, darkness, and the unimaginable heartbreak affecting—yet again—ordinary people doing ordinary things.

    photo: stock.xchng/KevinMcG

    Today's question:

    Where do you find courage, for things large or small?

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    Reader Comments (15)

    I hadn't heard of this accident. How sad and heartbreaking for the family and loved ones left behind. I too have struggled to understand why our beautiful state seems to be being attacked this year.

    I guess my courage comes from my children. The are my whole life now and without them I don't know what/where I would be.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

    I find courage through prayer, and a belief that things happen for reasons that I'm not yet meant to understand. For times I'm not feeling very brave, I figure God wisely gave me tears.

    Since I also gain courage through the love of others...I'm sending some ♥ your way, Lisa. xo

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Honestly, I've just quit trying to make sense of senseless things. On days like that, courage is just putting one foot in front of the other and doing what has to be done.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Valenta

    I find courage and solace in my faith, but not sense. I, too, cannot make sense of such violence, such pain, such destruction. I trust that God can, though, and ask that he comfort the victims who were left behind.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    Lisa, I knew there was a reason that you and I are friends. Like you, I desperately want things to make sense. And like you, this story disturbed and saddened me deeply. It's just another example of the randomness of life. Yesterday morning, three women got up having no idea that their lives would intersect in such a horrific way. All the little moments and actions they took that led to all of them being at that exact place at the exact wrong time. My heart aches for families of the women killed and I hurt for the driver, too. From comments I've read on Facebook, she is a nice person. And as a nice person, how do you live every day for the rest of your life knowing that you ended two lives? I just can't imagine. It all seems so unfair. And I get that life isn't fair but I just feel that it SHOULD be, you know?

    I think the takeaway from something like this is always to cherish our lives and those around us. Life is short and it's random and there's not always tomorrow, so we need to make the best of today.

    Hugs to you, my friend.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

    Commenters above have all touched on my feelings regarding the unexpected and impossible to explain happenings you mentioned and are, like you and me, at a loss to understand them.
    I, too, pray for those left, cry when I think of them, and remember just how fortunate I am that those dreadful things have not, personally, happened to me or my loved ones.

    The sadness of so much news is hard to bear nonetheless. Hold your head up and hang in there, Lisa; be glad for every non-eventful day we all have. And, thank God for them.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    I read that story early yesterday morning, and it hit me hard, too. So random. So tragic. I think to a certain degree, we all get by believing such things are rare, are unlikely to happen to us. In truth, it's as likely to happen to us as a stranger, but if you are the victim of such tragedy, at least your life won't have been unhappily spent seeing danger and death around every corner.

    That probably doesn't help... :(

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

    As I read this post, I'm listening to Milo, babbling in his bed (when he's supposed to be napping) and I gain courage. If I think about things too much, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn't eat anything or drink anything or go anywhere. I draw courage from friends and family and, like Amber said, try to cherish life and the many amazing moments it provides us. A man jumping to earth from 20-some miles up? Amazing. My little one babbling to himself in his bedroom. Just as amazing. Life can suck but we carry on because giving up is not an option. Love you, Lisa and your amazing heart.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPammeey

    What a tragic story for everyone involved. Did the driver of the suv stop & offer some assistance, I sincerely hope so. There are so many tragic stories that occur throughout the world. The little girl that got into a car in Wales with someone who was meant to be a friend. He has been charged with murder yet the poor wee soul has not yet been found. Can't begin to imagine how those parents must be feeling.

    I get my courage to keep going through my wonderful family and friends not only those in New Zealand but also my friends on the internet. Without their support especially over the past few weeks I don't believe that I would be in such a good frame of mind to go forward. I am thankful that I have such wonderful, caring, loving friends who take the time out to listen to me.

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    Thoughtful comments, my friends. Comfort and kindness all around. Love it! Thank you for courageously sharing. ♥

    October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I make sense of the senseless by remembering that we live in a broken, sinful world. As such, bad stuff happens to people, even those who simply drop their kids off at school. That doesn’t mean that tragedies like you’ve described don’t kick me in the stomach. Courage? Only by prayer and meditation.

    October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Robinson

    What a senseless tragedy added to the list of so many lately. I find strength in faith and family but have to admit to some days having to not turn on the news to avoid the reality of today's society. This is not a solution but some days it is necessary to keep moving forward. My thoughts are with all of these families who are enduring senseless tragedy.

    October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

    I didn't hear about this one on our news but living in southern California you see stuff like this on the news almost daily. The ones I really struggle to understand are the hit and runs where the driver just drives away. How can someone put so little value on other people? How can they just drive away? I really don't get that.

    As to where I find courage -- family! And that includes the cats. Hugs from any of them make it easier to face any day. I hope today is a better one for you!

    October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    I've been struggling with this lately, too. I thought about those women all day long, and I thought about those poor kids, and the randomness is just too much for me. More than anything, the idea of me or someone I care about just ceasing to exist -- FOR NO REASON -- scares the hell out of me.

    This semester I'm doing a clinical rotation at a mental hospital, where our primary function is to just sit and listen to people's stories. My heart gets broken every single Thursday.

    If nothing else, all of these things do make me hug my kids a little harder, and they make my problems seem a little smaller.

    October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

    So very sad and I imagine there is no way to make sense of tragedy. Can i just say one thing a bit off topic? I think you are very brave. Maybe you wouldn't jump out of an airplane or rocket, but there are other kinds of bravery. I think starting a new business like this blog is very brave and putting yourself out there for reader's comments is very brave. I don't think you should underestimate yourself.

    October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown
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