On Noticing the Depth and Density of Our One and Only Life

(Originally published over at Medium.)

My daughter’s friend got hit by a car the other day…

A five-year-old. In a crosswalk. Toppled by a car speeding past a crossing guard holding a sign. That in and of itself is reason enough to question humanity.

He’s alive but has suffered massive head trauma, broken bones, etc. The poor little guy has a long road ahead of him. He’s been in the hospital for a couple of weeks (I think — his family is keeping things close to the vest and we’re respecting their privacy through this trying time).

But this happened.

And the thing is, I’ve not had a chance to process it. I’ve thought about it for a few minutes here and there. But not really process it. What can I say, like you, I’ve had things. I’ve had tons of reading and writing assignments due. I’ve had to keep up on the blog, be a dad and a husband, and all the other pressing matters in life. When I have a moment, I head straight to the closest digital screen to see what notifications are urgently awaiting me there.

That silence in which we process things — why put myself in that place? That’s terrifying.

But I did. It didn’t take long. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes of just sitting in that low place without having to react to it. Sure enough, all the things I didn’t want to think about came to the surface.

Rory could’ve been there. She could’ve been in his place. They could’ve been holding hands skipping along and both been taken out. They could both be dead right now. Who knows?

The processing wasn’t pleasant, but I can tell you that afterward, I hugged Rory a little tighter and longer when I put her to bed (even though I did get on her case for watching too much TV, but she had it coming:))…

We have to give ourselves time to process this stuff.

When we frantically move from one distraction to the other, don’t live into the depth and density of our one and only lives.

We skim along the surface of it.

Life is super fragile and nothing is guaranteed. So often, we treat it like this heartbeat of ours is expected or deserved. But when we take time to notice and process the suffering that’s going on all around us, we see that it’s all a gift.

All of it.
Every single breath.

We have so little control of this life and we don’t have much time to love. But you’re here and I’m here and right now, that’s enough.