I was all prepared with a different blog post today. I had actually written something already. Something about the many things motherhood is teaching me about myself, about my personality, about my strengths and, yes, my weaknesses. But then I got some news via Facebook that changed my whole focus today and that old post didn't seem quite so important anymore.
This morning,I learned that a couple I knew in college, now missionaries in Paraguay, were involved in a terrible car accident. Their family, including their 6-year-old son and 18 month-old daughter, was driving to obtain documents and a passport for the little girl so that she and the rest of the family could travel to the US this summer. On the way to get these documents, their vehicle was struck from behind by a truck. The accident claimed the life of the wife Julie and her son, Timmy.
I can’t stop thinking of this family. The news shook me to the core. Julie was a friend in college – we were involved in student government together – and she was among the most genuine people I have ever had the good fortune to meet. She was gentle and kind and she lived her faith fiercely. Although we weren't terribly close, I always had great respect for her and recognized that she was exactly the kind of person many of us strive to be. I also knew her husband, Norberto, though not as well, and the two of them devoted their lives to bettering the lives of others. I cannot even begin to imagine the grief he must feel tonight. The questions. The pain and the loss.
It can all change so quickly, you know? Literally in seconds our lives can change. Forever. I don’t mean to sound gloomy and morose, but today’s news has reminded me how fragile life is. Too fragile to get caught up in things that don’t matter. There is part of me that wants to gather my husband and my sweet baby girl and hole up in our house forever, protecting them and the life we enjoy together from the external forces that could rob me of my happiness, of them. But that is, of course, no way to live.
So instead of holding on to the fear that news like this inspires – fear of the bad that can happen, fear of the unknown, fear of the happenings that just don’t make sense to us – I want to let this inspire me to live bigger, more authentically, and to love those close to me even better. That’s how Julie lived, after all.
Tonight, I hugged my baby tighter, kissed the top of her head even more frequently as I sung to her before bed. After I finish up here, I plan to hold my husband’s hand while we watch t.v. and enjoy every moment I spend with him this evening. I will treasure what I have...because I am so blessed. May I never forget that.
Please keep Julie’s husband, Norberto, their daughter, Anahi, and the rest of Julie's family in your prayers in the coming days, weeks, even months. The road before them will undoubtedly be hard to travel. May they find peace. And may they find comfort in the legacy their loved ones left behind.