Twenty years of life. Only 20 years, yet I feel as if I’ve witnessed too much in just two decades. Yes my childhood and teenage years have been filled with plenty of happiness–countless memories with family and friends through school, sports and holidays.
But then there’s the tragedy. The tragedies that NO ONE should ever be put through. I could sit here and feel as if I’m the only one who has felt the pain of tragedy. But I’m not.
Chances are that everyone around you is dealing with something. They have seen pain in their lives, just as you have seen in yours. That sounds pessimistic, I know. However, the more people I have gotten the chance to meet, the more I understand that so many people have fought through hardships in their lives.
Two weeks ago, my family buried my late Grandfather’s brother, our dear Uncle Buddy–a World War II Veteran who lived 92 years to the very fullest. His life had seen the tragedy and pain I spoke of earlier. However, Uncle Bud taught us how to live through the pain in life. Uncle Buddy’s life was filled with love, community, charity, American pride, and most importantly his family. I live a good distance from this family, and although I only have a few firsthand memories with Uncle Bud, I was blessed to know him as a true man–a gentleman who made a difference in every single life he came in contact with.
My community is reminded this week of the pain and tragedy that should not be a part of our young lives, but sadly is. As I’m reminded of so many things–how life is short and that we are dealt awful battles to overcome, I also am reminded of how I should live my own life. Just like Uncle Bud did. One filled with love, community and family.
Pain is a reality; yet it doesn’t have to define my life. I have learned over the past few years that although it is not always easy, it is so important to remember how much GOOD there is in our lives. It is so easy to focus on the bad, to let life make us bitter. Although the sad memories are pieces of our lives that make us who we are, they should not consume our lives. Instead we must remind ourselves of the happy memories that we experience–
The laughs around that high school lunch table with our friends. The inside jokes that complete family Thanksgivings. Movie nights. Soccer games. Walks with your best friend. Stuffing your face with your favorite pizza. And every time you smile around the people you love.
Life is hard. We go through times that make us question a lot, and times that make it hard to remember the good. When we are dealt these painful moments, we are forced to have faith. I have watched far too many of my friends and family be forced to show their strength in the hardest moments. When I see their strength though, I find my faith and remember that it is possible to find happiness through the pain.
This post is in memory of all my loved ones who were lost far too soon. Rest in Peace.