Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bad Things Happen to Good People

Today my thoughts are with Jenna over at Her 19 year old brother accidentally shot himself last night and passed away. The enormity of that tragedy is incomprehensible. Even though I don't know Jenna personally, I have appreciated her sweetness and discipline over the past month while reading her blog. My heart goes out to her and to her family. WHY? WHY? WHY? does this stuff happen? How do we make sense of it?

This morning prior to reading Jenna's blog I was consumed by the normal daily crap - can I fit in a run today? when will I have time to bake that cake for Emma's recital? what about that social services' report, can I fit that in too?

And then BAM!!! Perspective returns. It is amazing how quickly we get back on track with what is important when something horrible happens. Our priorities quickly realign in the face of sadness, death, tragedy and trauma. We remember what is important. And we wonder why we can't live like this every moment of every day, basking in the light of what makes our lives great instead of getting overwhelmed by all of the petty thoughts and details.

This happens in our running, too. We got so obsessed by our pace, our time, how we do in comparison to others, what we're wearing, what gadgets we run with, that we forget the big picture: why we started running in the first place. Maybe it was to get outside and hear the birds. Maybe it was to feel more confident and strong. Maybe it was to feel solid in our own bodies and proud of the slight changes that occur. But it sure as shit wasn't to become tied up in our own heads and egos.

Today I will get out of my head and will live from my heart. I will still shut up and run and not talk myself out of what I know is good for me, but I will run with intention to be a better person and to be present. To see the gifts around me and to love every minute of the precious people in my life. Because we never know. We TRULY never know.

Have you had great tragedy in your life? How have you coped? How has it changed you? Are you stronger for it?


  1. I was thinking about writing about a study today about how we are harsher towards family members... but then hearing about that awful tragedy stopped me. I do need to reflect.

    When I lived in Rome, my uncle passed away unexpectedly. I was stuck in Rome and couldn't go home for the funeral. I coped by keeping myself busy at first, then taking two days to cry and cry and cry. Then I wrote about it. It was before I ran and I think that would have helped so much. I think it made me more appreciate of my family and it definitely made me take life more seriously. I like to think I am stronger, but I think if it happened again it would hit me just as hard.

  2. I send good thoughts to Jenna and her family too. Tragedy, even when we aren't personally involved should affect us as a reminder of the fragility of our lives. We don't ever know. I like the connections you draw to running. For me running is a metaphor for life - all of life, the good and the tragic. We can't control everything and sometimes we are left to just accept and be. I lost both my parents separately but each at a younger than 'normal' age. I have married and had children motherless and am raising them parentless. My Dad died extremely suddenly, while driving - had a heart attack out of nowhere. Like his candle blew out. I'm not sure about the coping part, but I can say one good thing is it inspired me to reach out to my dearest friend on the planet again after a period of separation. And as she might say, I'm going to Shut up and Run right now.

  3. Clair - yes, if one "good" thing has come out of your tragedy it is that we have come together again stronger than ever. Do it for the babies.

  4. Oh my goodness, that's horrible. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be grateful for every day. My condolences to Jenna and her family.

  5. You soil your pants out of nowhere for the babies while kicking ass during a half marathon. I crawl on all fours to slow down my pace during my first marathon for the old folks. Either way, we help the world. We rock. I did shut up and run. 4 miles. 93 degree heat. 9:06 pace. Felt good. THAT I did for Jenna.

  6. Oh, what a tragedy! I was so sorry to read this! I will remember Jenna and her family in my prayers...what an awful thing for them to live through.

    I always had such an easy carefree life...and then my dad passed so suddenly...and my mom's terminal diagnosis just a year later...and her passing a year after felt like so much loss in a short amount of time. It made me stop an appreciate every person in my life, and not to take one of them for granted.

    I think we also realize that all the little things that irk us about people...the pet peeves, and is all meaningless once they are gone. So I try now not to let those things get in my way of appreciating those around me...faults and all..including my own!

    Thanks for a great and inspiring post Beth!