Friday, August 05, 2011

Putting Small Summer Miseries in Perspective

Is there any greater minor misery than a cold in the summer time? Since I am in the throes of one, I naturally do not think so. I keep losing the tissue box, and I definitely do not feel like looking for it—but I have no choice. I kept hoping this was allergies, but realized yesterday morning at a very sad funeral that allergies and tears were not the only thing making my nose run. (A 35-year-old man that so many people loved left behind a young widow and two sons. That is true misery, and a cold is inconsequential.)

Gerald and a nephew have gone to Chattanooga to cheer on the two Southern Force softball teams at the ASA national tourney. Theoretically I wish I were there, but with this cold, I am very grateful that I am not.

Fortunately I had already cancelled out on meeting Jeannie and Leslie in Paducah today. I am driving Gerald’s pickup while he is away, and I knew I had no business going on strange streets looking for a bridal shop I had never been to. I wanted to go since Paducah was where Jeannie and I went to choose her wedding dress so many years ago. I wanted in reminince and enjoy dinner at Olive Garden, where I think Jeannie and I ate when we down for her fittings. I cannot remember the name of that long ago bridal store or how we got there, but oddly I remember the woman clerk telling us about their recent family tragedy where a neice and brother-in-law took refuge beneath a tree during a summer outing—and were both killed by lightning hitting the tree. (That is consequential misery.) I also remember that the AC in our car was out when we made those trips, and I was upset about it. Jeannie would ride her bike to the farm from Carbondale and we would go to Paducah from there, and I felt she should have AC at least on the trip to Paducah. Again when I look back, I know that was inconsequential although it tore me up at the time.

True tragedies put life’s minor flaws and inconveniences in perspective. A young friend I sat by yesterday at the funeral wrote on Facebook last night that her son had hit a deer and then a car hit his car. But everyone was fine except the deer. She was so grateful and rejoicing—even though an older teen son had an accident a few months ago.—and I know from personal experience how difficult it is to keep teens in safe cars. Yet she was able to bounce back and come out knowing that an accident that left her son unhurt was not a serious problem. She urged us realize how quickly life can change and she paraphrased Francis of Assissi urging us to show love at all times and if needed use words. Such good advice when small summer problems seem larger than they are when we are hot and tired and praying for rain and wiping sweat off our brow. (Or in my case, wiping my nose.)

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