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Incidents underscore that life is fleeting, our choices are not

October 14, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Life deals reminders that it is very finite and we know not when it is going to change, or end.

We walked out of our news meeting in the editor’s office Friday morning when the world boomed and the fortress Herald-Star building shook and rattled. It never does that, not when trains go by five feet from the back door; not when rare earthquakes hit Ohio.

It was the lives of a family in Follansbee changing forever. An apparent gas explosion took the life of the teen-aged daughter, hurt the father and wiped out the home.

The family lost a member, and all the stuff that a home provides to give comfort is gone, too. Remember that when the community comes out to raise funds and assist the Mozingo family. There but for the grace of God…

On Saturday, the point was underscored with a similar house explosion in Moon Township.

A story on the AP today told the tale of a terminally ill father giving his daughter away at her wedding from a gurney in the church. I couldn’t read the second paragraph.

The Boss (at Home) may actually read this post when her very busy schedule allows her a moment today. Or maybe it won’t. She is doing a fantastic new job at the university and I’m quite proud of her. Maybe my thoughts here could explain why I hugged just a little more this weekend. And why I freaked out just a bit when Southwest’s Saturday morning Pittsburgh International flights were using THAT landing pattern, the one where the aeronautical chart says “descend to about 40 feet and turn right over Pablo’s garage). And why I wanted to be alone with my thoughts a couple of times.

It is hard enough to deal with situations where an illness has some potential to change or end your life. There is time to think.

Anyone who has faced a crisis knows that I mean. You beg and plead with God. You change your ways. And then, time goes by and maybe that feeling fades a bit. You start growling in heavy traffic, or griping because the office is too hot or your family didn’t do the dishes. Really, really good people get the message and change for the better, but schmoes like yours truly need the reminder to smack them between the eyes every so often.

There is not time to think in so many occasions. Do we really want the last thought a friend or family member has of us to be the scowl over the misplaced dish towel or the lawn that didn’t get mowed or the grumbling in traffic? Or just generally being the southbound end of a northbound horse? Take it from one who often is that end of the horse, it's easy to slip up in attitude.

We have the choice to set every moment of every day the thoughts others have of us. I’m not saying to worry about what others think of us or to live our lives worried about popular opinion of us. Frankly, a lot of people’s opinions really don’t matter a hill of walnut shells in the function of our daily lives. Doing so would mean you stand for nothing because standing for something sometimes makes others uncomfortable or downright angry.

No, what I'm saying is that the little things really just don’t matter all that much. Knowing that helps us with the attitude with which we approach every faced of our daily lives, including those who disagree with us.

And, if we live a life that recognizes that we’re all one flip of a light switch or one bad driver away from not having a life anymore, or not having the life we enjoy anymore, it should change us.

And maybe someday, in my case, I won’t need smacked between the eyes by reality’s reminders to remember that.


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