While the events of last week continue to unfold it reminds us how fragile life is and how quickly our lives can be turned upside down in the mere blink of eye.
While the nation was fixated by the shocking terrorist event in Boston, the good people in West Texas were literally blown away when a fire at a fertilizer plant caused a massive explosion killing as many as 60 and injuring nearly 200.
When the Cold War ended and the Iron Curtain was torn down, we thought and hoped the world was moving toward a more peaceful existence. Nations could focus more on improving the living conditions for its citizens. Ever-developing technological advances would help us realize that with a global economy, war was something the world could do without. We envisioned the spread of democracy and capitalism throughout the world. Other nations were hungry for the lifestyle we enjoyed in the United States.
Unfortunately, the world has not gone in that direction; instead, it has become even more dangerous than before. The events of the last week, the threats coming out of North Korea, the recent ricin letters showing up at the capital and the White House, and the rash of gun violence have once again proven the depth of our vulnerability. We are perhaps more despised both by people who feel entitled to our continued financial and military support and by Jihadists/revolutionaries who see our freedom as grand opportunities to humble the nation and break our spirit.
Regardless of the source of the threat, life is fragile. Life-changing events can come in the form of a national tragedy, but they can also occur in a private conversation with your doctor, a slip on the ice or an unintended auto accident. Life, as they say, can sneak up on you when you least expect it. None of us can live our lives in a bubble. We can’t be so fearful that the joy of life is reduced to a whimper.
We can, however, choose to conduct our lives with a greater focus on the life itself. How we respect ourselves and appreciate the contribution of each other to the world we share.
We can never eliminate threats, but we can recognize ways to make the most of the time we spend on this Earth and the way we embrace those around us.
Anyone who has faced a major crisis or lost a loved one unexpectedly knows you can’t get back the time you may have foolishly let slip away. The lesson we must take away from these events is simple; be on guard, but never fail to appreciate every day you and your loved ones have together.
This world — while full of wonder, beauty and exciting times — is also fraught with danger. Danger lurks in every corner, and no one is immune but it is balanced by the gifts each of us is given. Seriously injured Boston marathoners who may have loved running, and realize they may have lost a limb, are nonetheless grateful just to be alive. First responders in Texas who may have lost a fellow responder in the tragedy, will, along with other brave responders in the near future, charge into another life-threatening event knowing what’s at risk in an effort to save lives. They do so out of love for their fellow man.
That love and commitment to each other is always showcased during trying times like these. We must all remember how we feel during these events and do our best to keep that feeling ever present as we go about our daily lives and not just when we are personally affected.
The journey of life is an ever-learning and evolving experience as we cope with joy, tragedy, defeat and success. In the end, how we choose to deal with and accept these life-altering events is what provides the promise for tomorrow and future generations.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.