the range of emotions that are engulfing the town of Newtown, Connecticut.
I am not a parent. I don’t know how difficult, yet how rewarding it is to raise a child. I will never know the grief of losing a child. I will never understand the rage, the anger, the desperation and the sorrow the parents feel for losing their young children. I will never understand!
Before I learned about this tragic event, I was already struck with grief this morning. I met a young man who is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) Volunteers have come together to remodel his home and make the remaining days of his life more comfortable. Today, I was a volunteer who had the painful pleasure of meeting Rob.
Rob needed a walker to hold himself upright. His brain, still sharp as a tack, sent messages and instructions that his arms and legs struggled to implement. He said, “I have to take it very slow and cautious. Throw rugs can trip me up. I can’t catch myself and I have fallen a few times. It won’t be long before I cannot do stairs anymore. So this renovation will help me live more independently.”
He literally struggled to enunciate words of gratitude for my friends, Dino, Adam, Lucas, and myself. His words were spoken slowly and deliberately, with great effort and with extreme honesty. Rob got a little choked up when he met Adam and Lucas, two young men who were “paying it forward.” You see, 4 years ago Adam and Lucas received a new home from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Rob said, “Ohh, you live in the castle.” He looked exhausted as he mustered the strength to give us one more, “Thank You.”
Adam and Lucas are young men who have experienced tragedy in their lives. They lost their home to a fire and a year later lost their brother and father in a tragic swimming accident. They know pain. They know emotional suffering. I do not. I do not understand the pain of losing a family member prematurely.
I was overcome with heartache watching Rob struggle to walk down three stairs. His oldest daughter, who is maybe 12 years old, was home sick from school and helped her ailing father.
Does she know his physical condition will deteriorate more significantly? Does she know that her father is slowly dying? How does her mother tell her two younger sisters, “Everything will be alright?” I don’t know. I will never understand.
Shortly after meeting Rob, I learned of the massacre in Connecticut, the state I live in. It’s close to home. Although I am not personally affected by this tragedy, the event weighs heavy on my soul and in my spirit. Any feelings of goodwill I felt to help a family in need have been overshadowed by a tragedy. I have done so little. I can do so little. I can’t truly understand because I am not a parent. I can’t empathize or sympathize because those emotions require that I have some sort of mutual understanding. And I do not understand.
And this blog post seems so insignificant. What will it accomplish? Will it do any good? Who does it help? I don’t know. But, all I can do is write and be me. Today, there is no call to action. Today, there is no underlying message, no inspiring message, no motivational pep talk. Today, is a day that I have a painfully hard time understanding why God works in such mysterious ways. I will never understand!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.