The morning laughed at us. We all laughed back. I remember that the sun was shining particularly strong on this day even though we were in the middle of winter.
It was my daughter’s birthday this past Saturday and all of her family gathered to celebrate with her. “It’s my birthday!” Those were her first words. Her grandparents, her aunt and her uncle in unison said, “Happy Birthday!” The day started with a lightness, the mood festive and joyful. The evening promised more fun, with an ice skating party planned and a ride on the Zamboni machine.
At 10:00 a.m., on the same morning of my daughter’s birthday, in another corner of the state, there were shouts of fear even though the sun was shining particularly bright. Thirty-one gun shots were fired in Tuscon in an opening parking lot at a congressional outreach meeting. Six people were killed, among them, Christina Taylor Green, a nine year old girl who aspired to have a role in politics.
In any given moment, while you are laughing, someone else is crying. While you are celebrating, another may be mourning. As one life is born, at the same time, another may pass. It’s a delicate line between these diametric opposites. It startles and scares me. It causes me to pay attention.
Its happiness and mourning. And its Celebration and Despair.
How each can happen at the same time at any given moment. It’s a humbling realization about life.
Very humbling indeed.
My thoughts exactly… we were leaving football at 10am and heading to Target to get your daughter a birthday present and came home to see the devastating news. How could something happen on such a beautiful day? I worked for the same organization as Christina’s Father when she was born in MD back on 9/11 and lived in the same state when she passed. I never knew them and yet, feel connected. With each day I am seeing more and more how precious each moment here on earth with each of our loved ones is as you never know what or who will take them away in moment’s notice. ;(
I think that when we’re affected by such a realization, we are also reminded of our undeniable interconnectedness.
Wow- what a poetic and powerful post Rudri….And happy belated birthday to your daughter.
I’m often aware of the yin/yang nature of this world; the strength and fragility of life are probably the things that keep me both in awe and moving ever cautiously forward.
Happy belated birthday to your daughter! 🙂
Rudri, this made me shudder. The dichotomy between life and death, birthdays and funerals is so sad. And, yes, very humbling.
This is exactly how I felt. And feel.
Terrible and wonderful things are happening all the time, to people everywhere – anywhere. It’s a democratizing truth, one of the ones that made Elizabeth Edwards’ life and passing so sad and poignant.
I’ve lost enough people very close to me that I don’t take many days for granted. If anything, I have to learn to relax and not worry daily about the all-too-easy ways of loss and tragedy.
Beyond savoring our own blessings in gratitude, perhaps the best we can do is send love by whatever means we are able to those left to pick up the pieces flooded with grief, terror, anger… in the hopes that we might deepen our understanding of these collective catastrophes as truly hurting us all, and in the hopes that we might all begin to reach for compassion rather than perpetuation of trauma. If it is hurt people who hurt other people, we must soothe ourselves and each other if we hope to do less harm as a human endeavor. Thanks Rudri, for raising our consciousness and compassion.
A striking contrast which you’ve drawn for us. Beautiful and painful.
This post is haunting and humbling and real. The contrasts are stark, and dark. The moments of our days are filled with such goodness and such atrocity. We must never forget this. I just watched the memorial in Tucson and I was moved and horrified and just so sad. Thank you for acknowledging the rawness of this all.
Oh, this makes me sad. But it also makes us so human, to realize this duality. Beauty is beautiful because there is dreariness, and vice versa.
I hope your daughter’s birthday next year will not be overcast with sadness.
First – happy, happy birthday to your daughter (and to you, mom!)
Second – truer words were never spoken. And so beautifully, too. You have such a way of getting to the heart of the matter, of easing us into thoughtful reflection. The tragedy in Tucson is a poignant reminder of the amazing gifts we all possess in our lives. Never let go.
How each can happen at the same time at any given moment. It’s a humbling realization about life. – it certainly is. Helps us remember that even though we might live in our own little worlds, life really isn’t just all about us.
And as a baby is born, a person dies.
The circle of life. At times beautiful, at times vicious.
Makes us want to really embrace the celebrations, you know?