Today in Toronto, just two hours away from me, on streets I’ve walked more than once, ten people were killed another fifteen were injured. It came on the heels of another tragedy including the loss of sixteen lives in a bus crash just a few weeks earlier. It has been a difficult month for our country to cope with. Many are rattled to the core by how close to home these situations hit.
Today people just going about their lives, starting their day and week in the same fashion they had any other Monday. Only to have their lives torn apart by the decisions or choices of another.They never imagined going out for lunch would be a fatal mistake.
Those families never dreamed today would be the start of a nightmare they can’t wake up from. Some families still don’t know their loved one is gone. Soon to have a sad story on the news turn into their own personal hell.
None of them considered a stranger would be so cruel as to mow them down on the sidewalks as they enjoyed the first day that’s truly felt like spring.
Laughter was replaced by gut-wrenching screams. Both on the streets and later in the homes of those personally impacted.
More Than a Day Job…It’s Life
People watched in horror as others faced mortality. Some doing everything they could to save, comfort and care for those around them. Lives saved by the heroics of strangers. Courage, compassion, and strength were abundantly shown in the aftermath.
First responders, started their day prepared for anything but never imagined the emotional and physical drain their day would turn into. They will never erase the scenes they encountered today and every day on their jobs. They have been internationally praised and recognized for doing their jobs.
They aren’t as naive as the rest of us in life. They go to work every single day knowing life changes and is lost in a minute. They know there is carnage in this world and experiences in life that will haunt you every time you close your eyes. And yet they go each day prepared and willing to face and see what no one should have to.
Standing on Guard
They know people make life-threatening, dangerous, ill-conceived horrible decisions every day. They have taken on the responsibility of being the ones everyone else looks to in times of crisis for protection, safety, direction and information. They are expected to bring justice and compassion, act immediately but not impulsively. They deliver the worst news people could ever receive and face the worst situations anyone could face.
Often being criticized no matter what move they make. The first responders’ lives are forever changed by every scene they carry in their memory, every action that they take. Most of us don’t have to make life or death decisions every day. We don’t face trauma as a routine part of our day.
We are brought to our knees and crushed by its intensity when our fragile mortality becomes a reality we must face. We hug our families a little tighter, treat our neighbor a little kinder, appreciate life a little more.
It’s easy to watch the news or look at our world and see all the bad that is happening. There is so much hate and injustice, greed and just plain cruelty. People hide behind computers and emotionally torture anyone they can. Others have so little regard or respect for life they’ll take it from another without a second thought.
That’s not what life is about. Life is what happens in the face of evil or devastation. Life is the compassion of a nation mourning with those who mourn. Life is the courage of those who risk themselves to save another. Life is 1000s of hockey sticks placed on doorsteps and lining trees on streets across the nation to show support.
Life is a police officer in British Columbia being in a vegetative state for 30 years and his fellow police officers visiting his bedside for three decades.
It’s not about the things that go horribly wrong, the evil or destruction, it’s about the unity, compassion, and strength that continues on. It’s about the love that is remembered and the courage of our persistence to try and do better.
Life is precious. My thoughts prayers and love go out to anyone who is struggling to deal with what life has thrown at them. May you be surrounded by and comforted by the good in the world and may you always have love and support to carry you through.