Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Golden Tragedies

The most amazing fact in the dust of a tragedy is how much gold can be found.

Truly, I was raised by an optimist. My mother chose to picnic by the side of the turnpike on a bitterly cold, miserably windy day, and exclaim about the joy of being together under a blue sky. But such blind faith does not paint the heavens blue.

The truth is that people really are basically good, full of love. No matter how trite the saying, we are each trying the best we can.

Some try harder than others, some are luckier. Certainly the pain of tragedy can bring anyone to their knees, turn a monster out of a mole. Hurt can make one want to hurt back. But looking more deeply, it is easy to find light in many dark places.

When the fire trucks were leaving the smoking remains ( Artisan Builders: 2nd Story Addition), I was warned to stay close because looters would definitely follow. In disbelief, I listened, but couldn’t understand. Two older men, nearly strangers to me, refused to let me stand by the ruins alone, but kicked the stones with me for several hours, tossing tales back and forth, or staring quietly out to sea until my sister arrived. And sure enough, when those huge four wheelers roared up the mountain trail, saw us, and backed right out again, I was grateful for my two new friends.

When cancer first struck our family, overwhelming us with an immediate medical education and physical hardship, neighbors rallied. A schedule was organized and every night for weeks, dinner arrived in abundance, delivered with a hug and a quick withdrawal to leave us to our own private healing.

Likewise, this week when one person’s pain spoke for many and reopened raw wounds on the shoulders of me and my family, so much more has been the support of friends and strangers who have witnessed the exchange and been comforting. Although in many ways I deserve the rebuke for my many business decisions that have gone badly, I am grateful that so many have come forward to express their understanding, sympathy and forgiveness of my mistakes.

This goodness of people is truly humbling. At the center of so much pain, embarrassment and shame, I stand before you, amazed to feel so blessed, grateful to still be offered the companionship of so many good people.

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