when bad things happen….

How do you explain the unimaginable…to a child? There are things in this world that are very hard to make sense of for an adult, but when you add a curious child into the equation things just got complicated.  We spend so much time trying to shelter our young children from anything and everything that could be upsetting to them. It is hard to know when it is okay to introduce the idea that life isn’t always going to be perfect.  There are things that happen every day that can’t be explained.  Like when a 2 year old gets diagnosed with leukemia, like when a young pawpaw is taken before he can see his namesake grow up, like when an alcoholic decides to make himself at home–in our house!

And of course, those devastating events on Sept. 11, 2001.  It is hard to believe that it has already been 10 years since that terrorist attack.  But at the same time, it feels like yesterday that I was working at Bellarmine University, in my friend’s office when our work study came in and told us what was going on.  Time is funny like that….it felt like I was waiting for years to hear that my uncle was uncharacteristically late to work that morning causing him to be outside of the World Trade Center towers when the planes it.  In reality, we waited a few hours to hear about his glorious tardiness.

My oldest is almost 9yrs and always very curious (hmm…sounds like a Curious George book, doesn’t it??).  C is also a very thoughtful young man…he really takes things in and processes them.  We have had many late night talks because he can’t fall asleep since something is weighing on his mind.  I knew discussing 9/11 with him would be difficult. While I was thinking about it, “Salvation Song” by The Avett Brothers came on. Damn…their lyrics are just incredible.  I am pretty sure they have a song that would fit everything situation in life. Anyway….this song just struck me as the answer in helping my son process the bad things in life. Especially the chorus:

We came for salvation

We came for family

We came for all that’s good that’s how we’ll walk away

We came to break the bad

We came to cheer the sad

We came to leave behind the world a better way

We cannot change what other people’s choices, how they act or what they do.  We cannot control the health of our friends and family in certain circumstances. We can only take charge of what we do and how we act. It is our responsibility to take positive actions.  On this desperately sad and overwhelming anniversary weekend, I hope we can all keep in mind that there are things we can do in everyday life to ease someone else’s pain or just brighten their day.  And if we all did that, maybe we really could break the bad, cheer the sad and leave behind the world in a better way.

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