Monday, November 25, 2013


When I heard about his accident, my heart dropped. I was waking up groggily to what I thought was just-another-day, when my sister asked if I'd heard the news. I prayed in earnest: Dear God, if anyone deserves a miracle, it's that boy.

I thought of trampolines, soccer games and him catching grapes in his mouth as his mother tossed them from across the kitchen. I thought of his comfortable, crowded dining room table, and of each one of his sisters. I thought of sledding, and last winter when we laid down, limbs spread wide, like starfish on cool thin ice.

And then I imagined dark pavement and blood, the lifeline flight and his body in a coma at the hospital.

I felt sick. I felt paralyzed. And it was just-another day.

I want to tell him about that day. As I walked to class, I loved every person I saw with more love than I knew I had inside of me. My concern was magnified into empathy by a single, simple realization. Every one of the people on this earth has an intricate web of relationships. Every person has a mother, a father, and friends, and they are so important, if not to me, than to someone else. I could feel only gratitude that all these people around me were laughing, walking and whole. And if that wholeness was stripped from them at that moment, I knew that it would create as much heart wrench as this boy’s accident did for those who loved him.

I care fiercely for my friend’s life and the gift of his accident to me was that I felt that same fierce care for each and every life on that day. Regardless of anything else, a heartbeat, a breath and an awareness of the world seems enough to be happy for wherever it's found.

The overwhelming sense of that love has faded, but the memory of it is still there. It's a feeling that I can reach back to and pinpoint when I'm being mindful. And when I do, gratitude swells up in me again.