Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Things We Cannot Change

"There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go."
When I checked the announcements online for my daughter's high school this week I found the above posted as the quote of the week. There was no source given for the quote, but it struck me as well-chosen for the events this school community has recently experienced. 
It seems the news headlines are full of tragedies no matter where one lives. The international news is overwhelmingly tragic if one takes the time to truly meditate on it, but sometimes tragedy happens close to home, and sometimes closer than when first realized. I don't want to go into details. The details are too painful. I will say only this: It is always tragic when a young person's life is cut short, but when it is cut short brutally and intentionally, the tragedy is beyond what the mind and heart are able to comprehend.
The young person lost was a recent graduate of my kids' high school. That's close. Though I didn't know her well, she went through the school where I work and I know that I had spoken with her several times. That's closer. When we got together with a small group of friends later that week I heard that the young lady was found in the neighborhood where one of my friends lives and had been a friend of her daughter's. That is as close as I can handle right now.  I can't imagine how the young lady's friends and family are coping with this unimaginable loss. To them, this isn't a news headline, it's life, and life at it's unutterable worst.
How does one cope with tragedy in whatever form it comes to us? How do those on the other side of the world in Japan cope with the loss of life as they had known it? How does this family cope with the loss of their daughter and the publicity associated with their very personal agony? How do employers cope with the fact that they can't afford to keep all their employees and have to tell good people that their position has been eliminated? How do those whose jobs have been lost, some of my co-workers for example, face an uncertain future?
These are the things we don't want to happen as the quote referred to. Somehow we have to learn how to accept them. These situations cause us to learn things that we didn't want to know. Somehow the learning has to make us stronger.  And then there are the people we can't live without...That's the most difficult aspect of the truth that quote presents. How do we ever find the strength to let them go?
That quote puts me in mind of a very famous prayer:  

God grant me the serenity 
      to accept the things I cannot change;
  courage to change the things I can; 
  and wisdom to know the difference. 

As you deal with whatever tragedy affects your life may God grant you such serenity. Be blessed, dear one.