Teaching children is a balance between sharing truth and trying not to cause them unnecessary anxiety. My parenting style leans more toward honesty. So I gently explained to my son the reality of Hurricane Harvey.
Texas is close. These people affected are our brothers and sisters. We love them. We are praying for them. We pray they will be safe. The hurricane will not get us next. We are safe here. Yes, some people died. Some of those people were heroes, like Houston Police Officer Steve Perez.
Crew began asking follow-up questions then quickly got bored and asked me to turn the music on. I, however, was unable to stop thinking about his questions.
Just one week ago Texans were living normal lives, sitting in rush hour traffic just like me. Busying themselves with jobs, homes, to-do lists and now they are literally trying to keep their heads above water. Others weren't so lucky and their lives ended tragically.
I immediately felt guilty for being healthy, happy and spending the day running meaningless errands. I feel helpless. I'm not going to Texas to help. I can give money, which I know helps, but it still seems insignificant to the catastrophic total.
I pulled into my driveway overwhelmed with joy for my beautiful home. The sun was shining and the blue skies were perfection. Then out of the corner of my eye, my picture perfect view changed. Across the valley I saw a fire burning. Large, black clouds of smoke billowed up from behind the mountains. Another tragedy.
In this moment I realized a simple truth: tragedy is everywhere.
Tragedy is happening every single minute of every single day. It's happening in our homes. It's happening in our neighborhoods. Floods, fires, poverty, illness and death. Nobody is immune. Nobody can escape the path of tragedy. Maybe it's not a catastrophic weather event we have to deal with, but at some point in all our lives, we will deal with some type of tragedy.
In this moment of truth I knew exactly what I could do to make things better. I will choose to live my life; live this day to the fullest. I will be the best person I can be today. I will enjoy each moment that I can, while I can. None of us know when tragedy is coming for us, but we don't have to live in fear. I can honor the time God has given me.
I will continue to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, buy all the things on Amazon, run my boys to practice, open the mail, pay the bills, fold little boys laundry and read my seemingly unimportant emails. I will smile at others, look into my boys eyes while they are talking to me, turn on music and dance in my kitchen.
I will do my best to not take for granted the sunrises and the sunsets. I will ask God to bless those who are going through tragedies and in turn I will thank Him for my many blessings. If tragedy strikes my tiny corner of the world tomorrow, I will know that I didn't take today for granted. Even if I can't help my friends in Texas. I can live my best life in honor of the many people sacrificing their lives for goodness around the world.