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tragedy strikes Japan. tragedy strikes home.

Posted Mar 20 2011 12:00am
Sometimes tragedy strikes when you least expect. I have spent the past week mourning the lives lost in the beautiful country of Japan. I have been meditating and praying over the people of the country. I have donated to disaster relief funds on their behalf. I have contacted all of my company's customers in Japan to ensure their safety. The tragedy has not dissipated. It is still there, and still very real. 
However, being in the United States, I have still felt somewhat withdrawn from it all. It is easy to be very sad while watching the news and reading the internet, then go about my daily routine as normal. But then... tragedy turned around and slapped me in the face. Tragedy decided to strike my town, my family, and my friends. Tragedy decided to get up close and personal and show me face-to-face how ugly it can be. It may have been on a much smaller scale, but it was also on a much more personal level.
This week alone, my town has experienced a surge in unforeseen tragedy. Six Sarasota teenagers along with two young men in their twenties, were killed in tragic circumstances in the past few days. One young man was a good friend of mine. The accidents ranged from car related to drug related. For some reason they all came all at once. No matter the cause, death brings grief, sorrow and questioning. I went to a 29-year-old man's funeral on Saturday. On my way to the funeral I detoured around a fatal motorcycle accident that claimed one of the other victims. Wow. And it's not like I live in a huge metropolis. Sarasota is a comfy city with a population of about 380,000. I should not be mourning the deaths of my peers, I should be celebrating their lives, marriages and the births of their children. Sadly, my friend left behind a 3-week-old son in his passing, a wonderful family and so many friends and loved ones that we were spilling out of the funeral hall into the sidewalk and streets. Literally.

The tragedy in Japan was the result of a horrific natural disaster. But natural disasters are out of our control. Some of the deaths that have hit so close to home were not out of control; they were direct consequences of poor decisions. It is so sad it makes me sick. My feelings have ranged from shock, to sadness, to anger, to utter despair over the past few days. It has been a difficult time for our town. At first I hesitated blogging about it. But I've realized something lately about blogging... it really helps me to gather my feelings, sort them out and wrap them up so to speak. It can be healing in a way. So, now I blog. About tragedy. About death. About sadness.
I used to be one of those people that spoke "everything happens for a reason. God always has a plan." But to be honest, that is the last thing someone wants to hear when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. And maybe...just maybe... that phrase isn't entirely true. I believe God uses tragedies to show love and healing, but I also believe our lives are the consequences of our actions. We cannot control the hand we are dealt in life, but we can control the decisions we make and how we respond.

I believe that life is a precious gift. Some of do not choose to treat it as such. Some of us choose to walk a fine line of safety: whether it's by choosing to get behind the wheel after having a drink, choosing to not wear a seat belt, choosing to turn to substance abuse to mask our feelings or choosing to not get help for an addiction. When we make such choices, we are usually only thinking about ourselves. Very rarely do we consider our lives being snatched from us as a consequence of our decisions. But the truth is, our decisions do affect others. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in mourning in my city right now--mourning the lives of very young adults, now gone. My heart and prayers go out to all of these families. May God be with you all and may God give you peace and comfort during your time of sadness.

My heart continues to go out to the country of Japan in its time of tragedy. May God be with you Japan, and give you peace and comfort during your time of sadness and loss, followed by strength, determination and clarity during your time of healing and rebuilding.
photo credits: nationalgeographic.comTo my peers: "Every action has its pleasure and its price... The unexamined life is not worth living." -Socrates

Pretty wise old fellow if you ask me.

~*~Peace, love & veggies
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