"Do not take anything for granted ~ not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed."
Tragedy struck our sleepy hillside community in 1994. A father and his nine year old son lost their lives while hiking the local mountains of Bailey Canyon. There was no warning as a ten to fifteen foot debris flow came surging down the canyon. Witnesses who were there and managed to scramble to safety said it sounded like a train approaching. There was little time to react as the ground beneath their feet began to soften and give way to the mud.
Three other lives could have been lost that day. Only moments before it happened, they had been enjoying a leisurely afternoon together at the same spot where the two were killed. But the other three lives were spared. Because one of the sons remembered there was a basketball game scheduled, the three cut their outing short and headed for home. If it wasn't for that game and the son's recollection that he had somewhere else to be, three more may have been added to the obituaries. And countless others would have been heartbroken in the aftermath. How do I know? The other dad is my husband, and the two boys (now men) are my stepsons.
Why did my loved ones leave only minutes before the tragedy hit? Why didn't the other man and his young son make it out safely? I don't have answers to all the "whys". I am still saddened when I think about the family who lost two precious loved ones. And I'm still bewildered by the turn of events that brought mine home safely. Mostly, I am thankful ~ for each day they've been given since that March in 1994.
I cannot tell you how many rough days have been softened by the memory of that fateful day. Moments when I wrestled with discontent or petty frustrations gave way to appreciation when I looked at one of those three faces...and remembered...it could have been them, too. But it wasn't.
How many other near misses have we lived through? Who knows. The point is we have so very much to be thankful for. And that's how I choose to live my life ~ thankfully.
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
~G. K. Chesterton
"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily."
"It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart."