Like most of you, I awoke to the news about the 71 people who were shot and the 12 that have died in the attack early Friday morning at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado. So many lives forever changed in a matter of minutes. When people entered the theater last night they had no clue their lives were about to change. For 12 people it would mean the end of their lives and over whelming grief for their families. For those that survived their wounds and even those spared physical harm, life will never be the same for them. No one can go through an horrific experience like that without it having a lasting impact.
I think most of us who are older have had life altering moments, of course nothing as horrific as the Aurora, Colorado victims, but life changing never the less. One that stands out in my memory is from my early 30's. I was newly married and my husband came down with a cold he couldn't shake. He stopped by the E.R, where a close friend of ours was a doctor. Our friend checked him over and decided to do a chest xray to see if he had pneumonia, gave him some meds and sent him home. Several days later our friend called to tell my husband that a spot had showed up on the xray and it looked serious, possibly lung cancer. More tests were done and we waited for results. The night before we were to get the results I remember we went to the movies to see E.T. to get our minds off what we might face the next day.
The following day we sat in the doctor's office listening to him tell us that my husband had advanced lung cancer that had already metastasized to his brain and was terminal. In those few minutes our lives changed forever. He died before the end of the year, a few months shy of our first anniversary. In time I adjusted and built a new life, but it made me aware of how precious each minute is and how quickly our lives can change.
Now that we live in a senior community I see my neighbors go through these life changing moments. There was a gentleman down the street that took great pride in his yard and worked on it daily. One night after planting some new plants and appearing to feel fine, he quietly died in his sleep. He had no clue that day as he planted the bright red geraniums that he wouldn't live long enough to enjoy them.
Then there was the darling couple that I would chat with daily when they took their evening golf cart rides around the community. He was frail, on constant oxygen and she was devoted to caring for him. The deep love between them could be seen by anyone. Then one day after not feeling well and having some tests done, she was told she had Lou Gehrig disease, not only changing her life but that of her husband, too. She died at home in less than year after her diagnosis. She said her biggest regret was not being able to care for her beloved husband until his passing as she had planned.
So what should we do- live in fear and dread of one of those life changing moments that can happen at any moment, those things we have no control over? Of course not! What we should do is appreciate and savor each moment, ignore the trivial irritations of daily life, and enjoy all the good things we have in our lives at this very moment.
Don't over look the flowers in your life...
...And take the time to pick up that interesting shell and appreciate it's unique beauty