Category Archives: tragedy

Life… Hyphenated

I was listening to the radio yesterday, and one of the headlines was of the plane crash in the Bahamas in which a prominent pastor (Myles Munroe) was killed. My condolences go out to his family and friends. The radio hosts quoted one of the pastor’s sayings, and it struck me as something I wanted to share with you.

He said (and I’m paraphrasing), the value of your life is not based on its duration, but it’s donation.

I love that! Love it.

A “good life” is not measured in years, but in how those years are used.

Another example of this (as a loved one pointed out) is the famous saying that your life is not defined by the dates on your tombstone, but rather the “-“ between the years.

So, this week I ask this question: What are you doing with your hyphen?

It’s a simple question that generates a lot of thought and answers. More importantly, though, I think it’s a good tool to add to our toolboxes.

Why? Exactly because it is so simple.

In the past, I’ve done my best to simplify ideas to help us all make better choices, such as the giving/taking discussion, or the idea that things are not good or bad for us, but rather strengthen or weaken us. This is one more tool we can all add to our decision trees:

What are you doing with your hyphen?

Whether it’s holding someone’s hand a little longer, giving to someone in need, or taking time for yourself in nature – it’s all about making the hyphen meaningful. Perhaps today is a good day to make a decision from that perspective. I know I will.

Hold on to Hope

Making Sense of the Senseless. We’ve all tried. On the news each night – whether you are watching local, national or international – we all hear of tragedies that make no sense. A suicide bombing here, an earthquake there, mudslides, shootings, fires, falls. It seems that every day, humanity experiences senseless acts of violence, nature and tragedy. And yet, we continue on.

The majority of us go to bed each night and wake up each morning with a new day filled with new opportunities to experience, learn, feel and grow. We watch, listen and experience our world around us as we celebrate milestones together, such as birthdays and anniversaries. But what do we do when the senseless hits home?

Most of us are lucky enough to go through life without experiencing the tragedy of a suicide bombing in our neighborhood, or a drive-by shooting. Those incidents are few and far between, though their prevalence on the media makes it seem like they are occurring everywhere. Truth be told, they are but a small percentage of the overall experiences of the human population. But they are tragedies nonetheless, that collectively affect our human psyche. So, what happens when tragedy – senseless tragedy – becomes personal? What happens when the nightly news story is about someone you know?

I recently had this experience for the first time in my life, and it is surreal. Nothing can prepare you for a senseless tragedy. Nothing. And in the end, you’re left with questions and memories. Eventually, the memories take over, but in the beginning the questions are most prevalent: Why? How? What for? I’m now paraphrasing my cousin Jerry, a priest, who conducted the funeral and memorial service for this tragedy. And I am more than honored to be able to share his words with you. Because their wisdom is so pure and simple. Here’s, generally, what he said:

How can we answer these questions? We can’t. There are no answers, and there never will be. What we have – what we always have – is hope. So hold on to hope.

And he’s right. Regardless of what religion, spirituality or beliefs you hold – there is always hope. Hope for mending a broken heart, hope for reincarnation, hope for a cure. The list goes on and on. Without hope, our world would be pretty dark.

Hope wakes us up in the morning after an hour of nightly news filled with tragedy and fear, mixed among the blessings and celebrations. Hope allows us to sleep at night, knowing that tomorrow is a new day, with new life and new opportunities.

“Hope,” (to quote ‘The Preacher’s Wife’), “is all a prayer is.”

So – how do we make sense of the senseless? We don’t. But with hope, we can move forward into our future, honoring our memories, and living each day anew. Hold on to Hope. You’ll be glad you did.