My Facebook feed was flooded tonight with pictures of a doting husband and father. There was a photo snapped at a party, on the sidelines of a football game and in the pool. The backdrop changed, but one thing remained in each shot: a genuine smile. This was clearly a man who was happiest when surrounded by his wife and two young daughters. I went to high school with this couple. That was a long time ago. They were a few years younger than me. I won’t pretend that I knew him well or could even call him a friend. However, I know many people who did and are in mourning. At the young age of 38 the man I’ve heard described time and time again as “one of the nicest guys I know” passed away suddenly. I was stunned when I heard the news this morning. I have seen this couple around town recently and at school functions. This isn’t supposed to happen.
I cannot begin to imagine how painful it was for his wife to break the news to the children that their father wouldn’t be coming home. My heart was heavy all day as photo after photo appeared online. Just days ago, the family posted a shot of a New Year’s Eve celebration. They had no idea what 2016 would bring. I thought about that a lot today. The truth is none of us do, but we get so busy with mundane tasks that we forget that tomorrow isn’t promised. We have no control of the future. Yet, we forget to be grateful for today. We forget to stop and reflect. We forget to count our blessings. Then, tragedy strikes and we remember what truly matters in life.
I am guilty of complaining when I should be celebrating. I have put laundry, dishes and other chores at the top of my priority list. This as my children waited to play or talk to me. I did not do that today. I danced with my daughter and laughed with my son. I didn’t nag my oldest about leaving his clothes on the floor. I took time to tell family and friends what they mean to me. Then, I prayed for this grieving family. I prayed for his wife. I prayed for his daughters. And I prayed that I never take another day for granted.