|Funny how life works sometimes|
Thirty-one years and change ago, I wrote a column in the Journal-Review about our first daughter being born. I said something about this circle of life thing. People are born. People die. Lives are impacted forever.
Often, we don't fully realize the impact of the event. As a new father, I certainly wasn't wise or mature enough to appreciate the magnitude of what one new little heartbeat would mean.
Over the past few days, I got another look at the whole process again. One was expected. One was not. Both brought tears to my eyes. And once again, I am not wise or mature enough to really understand the bigger picture.
Let me tell you a story.
My wife and I have been married for 34 years. We've been without grandchildren for the first 33 or so and might have mentioned the fact once or twice to our daughters, especially the youngest who has been wed for around five years. Then, as if God decided to once again prove He has a sense of humor, the oldest got married and we got a 3-year-old grandson in the process. A few months later, we found out the youngest was pregnant and a month later got the same news about the oldest.
Famine to feast.
No grandbabies to three.
Zero to 160 in two seconds flat.
Yippee, but gulp.
Sunday, the newest grandson entered the world and our hearts. He came in at an ounce over 7 pounds, measured 20 and a half inches long and brought with him 10 toes and 10 fingers in which he can wrap his grandparents, aunts and uncles around. Grandson, mom and dad are all doing fine.
I wish the story ended there.
It's not unusual in the newspaper world for readers to ask for us to help them pull off a surprise. I've been part of wedding proposals, birthday and anniversary greetings, even a soldier coming home and shocking his kids at school.
A couple of weeks ago, one of our readers asked me if we could put in one of our publications a birthday greeting for her dad. He was turning 80 in July and she and her sister just wanted him to see his picture and birthday wish in print. In addition, she asked, he and his wife would celebrate their 59th anniversary a couple of weeks later. Could we possibly put that in, too?
Good Lord, if newspapers can't do things like that what are we here for?
So we got it all set up.
This morning, the daughter contacted me again. She said her dad passed away. No more need for a birthday wish. No anniversary greeting.
His picture will still be published. But it will accompany an obituary, not a happy birthday or anniversary wish.
Two events, not connected at all. Two families who don't know each other. Both will be taking part in get-togethers, one celebrating a new life while another remembers an older one.
It's life. It was that way 31 years ago. It'll be that way 31-hundred years from now. Wouldn't it be nice if two events miles apart gave at least some of us pause as we appreciate what this life-thing is really all about? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could forget politics and pettiness and our differences and focus on important things for a change?
A baby was born. A man died. Impacts, profound impacts. There are reasons to smile, reasons to shed a tear. Nothing more, nothing less. Say it with me now, it's life. Here's hoping that with it all comes appreciation for what's truly important. At least for a little while.
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