Posted by: ritagone | August 1, 2012

On Second Thought…

 

 

 

Sometimes it takes a bit of a shock to make us re-think things that we were so sure of before…

This week in particular seems to be a week of shocks and rethinkings, both small and great.

First, the small ones:  I don’t care that much about the Olympics.  At least, I don’t care as much as I thought I would.  I watch the sporting events and find the athletes and their devotion to their sport – whatever that sport might be – mildly impressive, but in the scheme of things, so what?  I feel bad for Michael Phelps that he hasn’t won every single swimming competition that he came to London to win, but…so what?  I liked the opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, but I also fell asleep because it went on way too long for my tastes.   And again, so what?  On Facebook the day after the opening ceremonies, there was a raging debate about whether it was a disaster or a stroke of genius.  Of course, as you can imagine, opinions were mixed.  People spouted their opinions with relish and bravado…and then all quieted down again.  It was truly a ripple in the sea of life.

Another small re-thinking that all of the above small re-thinking led to:  there are many opinions about many things floating around out there.  And because of the Internet, we often get exposed to many of them, whether we like it or not.  Some of them are worth reading or listening to, some are not.  I don’t mind that you have a different opinion about something than I do, really I don’t.  What I do prefer is that you frame your opinion in such a way that it is clear, concise, and uses the English language respectfully.  Sometimes, just for a laugh, I read the comment section of an article.  Actually, it’s not for a laugh.  It’s more of a horror show, and I can feel my blood pressure rise as I read one comment after another.  I am appalled at the level of intelligence displayed in both the arguments set forth and the language in which those arguments are couched.  Obviously these people dropped out of school in the third grade in order to pursue a full-time commitment to comment writing.

On second thought, as the writer of Ecclesiastes said so many years ago, “vanity of vanities.”  What difference does even this make?

And the reason I am waxing philosophical and sounding a bit depressed and unsure of myself is this: a lady died.

She wasn’t even someone I was particularly friendly with.  In fact, I hadn’t really seen her in over a year, but just reading (on Facebook, of course) that she had suddenly passed away was a shock.  Unexpected.  Upsetting.  I always liked her; she had a smile that was quick and full of joy and sparkle.  When something like this happens, it takes the wind out of your sails.  I think in my mind all of us are supposed to go to bed at a ripe old age and just peacefully pass in our sleep.  It must be peaceful, and it must be age-appropriate.  By that I mean: quite elderly.  When there’s nothing else left to do, no one else left to love and be friends with, and nobody around to shock.  That didn’t happen here.  And, quite frankly, it doesn’t usually happen with most people who die.

On second thought, death almost always takes us by surprise, even when someone is dying slowly of a wasting disease.  That moment of passing is never totally prepared for, except in rare and unusual cases, and we hear about those because they are just that: rare and unusual.  A quick, sudden death – heart attack, car accident, aneurism – when someone is healthy and fine one moment and then gone from our presence, is something we need a lot of time to process.  We go to call them and they’re not available.  We think of something we want to tell them, and we remember that they’re gone.  I still find myself some 40 years later thinking of a story I’d like to share with my father!  He died suddenly one night of a heart attack, and the images from that evening remain vividly etched in my memory.  There are a lot of evenings and events I have forgotten, but not that one.  Never that one.  Especially because of the surprise of it, to be called on the phone on a peaceful evening, away from the television viewing, into a nightmare of loss and sadness.  I wasn’t ready to lose him.  I’m still not ready.

And so, on second thought, when I think about the little things that people have been squabbling about this week, whether or not they liked the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, did this athlete or that one gain a gold or silver medal or not, it’s all relative.  For me, today, and most likely tomorrow, I just don’t care.  What I care about is a family that is grieving a sudden loss, friends that are coping with a restructuring of their world.

Priorities – in the light of death and eternity – often need to be readjusted.  Because eventually there will be no second thoughts.

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Responses

  1. You’ve captured such insight into our world. Janet loved to read your blog and we often discussed it together. Our priorities have surely been changed by this event. Thank you, Rita.


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