Until They are Gone

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By Kenny Mitchell


We wake up this morning to another senseless school shooting, more young lives lost, on the heels of the tragic accidents in Foreman and New Boston that claimed lives that were just beginning.

So much promise lost. So much potential that will never be reached. So much grief and sadness.

This week we mourn locally, and the families from Santa Fe High School near Houston are in shock and hurting. The questions of why rise to the heavens like pouring rain and we all try to deal with the consequences of actions beyond our control.

It begs the question, is anything under our control?

There really are no words to say to a person that is grieving. Everybody does, but really, what do we expect a person to say when we ask questions like “how are you doing” or “are you ok” to someone who has just lost someone they love? When we tell them we are praying for them, does it really bring them comfort in the midst of their overpowering grief and loss?

Myranda Finley was a good student, an active band member, and from everything I have been told, was a good kid. Graduating from high school and already working a job, she had a bright future. It was likely the same for the young lady in Foreman, and those at Santa Fe High School this morning.

So, what do we take from these tragedies. That is a tough question.

I can only share my personal take from all of it and pray that it gives you some measure of comfort as well.

What we do now is hold the ones we have just a little bit closer. Say the words “I love you” a few times more. We put aside the trivial things of the world and we focus on what should really matter the most everyday like our kids, our families, our relationship with Christ, and yes, ourselves.

In this day and age we get so wrapped up in working a job, making enough money to survive, the rat race so to speak, and so many things that really don’t matter. We scan social media constantly looking at the trending topics in the world and the underbelly of society, and we sit in the same room with those we love, ignoring them so that we can “play” on our phones.

How many opportunities do we miss to see a child’s smile because we were staring at a screen? How many important words do we not hear because we were listening to a ridiculous soundbite?  What memory did we fail to make because we were trying to get to the next level on Candy Crush?

How much time do we waste daily on politics and politicians, bashing the other side, squabbling over differences that mean little to our real lives, and getting involved in other people’s garbage. Yep, I said it, a petty squabble on social media is just garbage. In the grand scheme of our lives, in our world that really matters, who cares if somebody’s hamburger wasn’t made right, if their chicken nuggets were cold, or if a steak was cooked rare instead of medium.

That doesn’t have to be the norm, and starting today, for me, it no longer will be.

Starting today, social media gets one hour a day. Games on my phone…gone. In their place will be time spent talking to my kids, holding hands with my wife, spending time with my grandchildren, reading good books and living life void of the constant barrage of meaningless data on social networks.

Today, is my daughter’s birthday. She will be 27. We will have a birthday party for her tonight, and it will be her last, because any day now she will be giving birth to my grandson, her first child, and her birthday will cease to exist. Why, because that is what you do as a parent. Your focus changes from you, to your child.

At least that is the way it should be. Too many of us have forgotten that, while we dumb ourselves down staring at a 4 inch wide screen, engrossed by the width of Kim Kardashian’s butt or whether we hear Yanny or Laurel in some useless audio clip.

We all need to wake up from our social media induced coma and see what is really important. Comfort those who are hurting with real actions and not an emoji, really get down on our knees and pray for people instead of just a passive comment, and spend real time with those who mean the most to you. Give roses, hugs, smiles, laughs, tears, and joy…now.

Why? Because it is very true, you don’t know what you’ve got, until they are gone.

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