Wednesday, July 25, 2012

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Earlier this summer, a friend and I were discussing why bad things have to happen to good people, like when someone dies young or when a kind, selfless person seems to never have things go his/her way.  Unfortunately, no matter how much one ponders this or gets angry about it, there will never be a rational, concrete answer that will please everyone.  Because of this, trust and faith in God is completely necessary.  Whenever I find myself troubled by this thought, I remind myself that unfair events occur in life no matter who it is.  However, God is there to help those struggling through these obstacles.  He is there amidst the low points, providing patience, strength, and hope even during the lowest moments.  

In my life, countless things have happened that could easily make me frustrated and angry towards God.  Many of these struggles tempt me to think "why would God ever let this happen to me and my family", but I resist.  Multiple times a week, my dad asks me questions like, "so you just finished your junior year at Notre Dame right?" (I just finished my freshman year) and "what day is it today?".  Does the fact that my dad basically knows nothing of my life keep me down? The answer is no. Of course, I feel overwhelmed and extremely sad when I think about how desperately I want to be able to fully share my Notre Dame experience with my dad because of how much he loved it there.  I feel like just giving up when I think that no matter what I say or do, he won't remember, so what does it matter?  However, I have no choice but to pick myself up and continue on with life, knowing that God is with me and will provide me with the strength to keep going.

The fact of the matter is what happened, happened. Nobody can go back and undo the complications in his brain surgery. There is nothing that can ever get his short term memory back. My dad can't do anything to have his cancer completely leave his body. That's the way life is. What my family and I can do, though, is move forward and live every day positively and with as much love as possible. I'm not undermining how hard it can be at times, because the journey can be disappointing, defeating, and tragic. All anyone can do is try to keep moving, remembering that God will always be there to remind you of how much you can handle with Him by your side.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

i was shown how fragile life was.

A journal entry from the blog of Jessica Redfield, a victim of the Aurora movie shooting who had narrowly missed a different shooting a month ago - 
I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.
What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting down and enjoying sushi, I changed my mind, which is very unlike me, and decided that a greasy burger and poutine would do the trick. I rushed through my dinner. I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found.
My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.
I walked around the outside of the mall. People started funneling out of every exit. When I got back to the front, I saw a police car, an ambulance, and a fire truck. I initially thought that maybe the street performer that was drumming there earlier had a heart attack or something. But more and more police officers, ambulances, and fire trucks started showing up. Something terrible has happened. I overheard a panicked guy say, “There was a shooting in the food court.” I thought that there was no way, I was just down there. I asked him what happened. He said “Some guy just opened fire. Shot about 8 shots. It sounded like balloons popping. The guy is still on the loose.” I’m not sure what made me stick around at this point instead of running as far away from the mall as possible. Shock? Curiosity? Human nature? Who knows.
Standing there in the midst of the chaos all around us, police started yelling to get back and make room. I saw a young shirtless boy, writhing on a stretcher, with his face and head covered by the EMS as they rushed him by us to get him into an ambulance. The moment was surprisingly calm. The EMTs helping the boy weren’t yelling orders and no one was screaming like a night time medical drama. It was as if it was one swift movement to get the boy out of the mall and into the ambulance. That’s when it really hit me. I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?
Police start yelling again “GET BACK NOW!” Another stretcher came rushing out of the mall. I saw a man on a stretcher, the blanket underneath him spotted with blood. Multiple gunshot holes in his chest, side, and neck were visible. It’s not like in the movies when you see someone shot and they’re bleeding continuously from the wound. There was no blood flowing from the wounds, I could only see the holes. Numerous gaping holes, as if his skin was putty and someone stuck their finger in it. Except these wounds were caused by bullets. Bullets shot out of hatred. His dark skin on his torso was tinted red with what I assume was his own blood. He was rushed into the ambulance and taken away.
More people joined the crowd at the scene and asked what happened. “There was a shooting in the food court,” kept being whispered through the crowd like a game of telephone. I was standing near a security guard when I heard him say over his walkie talkie, “One fatality.” At this point I was convinced I was going to throw up. I’m not an EMT or a police officer. I’m not trained to handle crime and murder. Gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I’d experience a violent crime first hand. I’m on vacation and wanted to eat and go shopping. Everyone else at the mall probably wanted the same thing. I doubt anyone left for the mall imagined they witness a shooting.
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.

a run on of thoughts. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

just keep swimming.

‎"We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there."

No matter who you are, obstacles and hardships come up in life that feel simply unfair and overwhelming. Everyone has those days where everything seems like too much, building up to the point where you think you can't handle anything else. However, the absolute best feeling is when you can look back on your life and see everything you've overcome and you can fully believe and appreciate how strong you are. This is possible for everyone! Keep living, as it may be all you can do, one day at a time, and eventually those days won't feel as daunting anymore. Don't dwell over the scary future or the troubled past, focus on right now. There's no better time than right now to prove it to yourself what a rockstar you are.

keep calm and do yoga.

This past year, I've become absolutely obsessed with yoga. This summer, I've tried to go every day I can and I can't get enough! It helps me get in shape, while also challenging my mind and body to reach new heights every class. I love that no matter how many times I go, I always learn something new about yoga and about myself. I definitely recommend everyone trying yoga to see if they enjoy it the way I do! However, if yoga isn't for you, I challenge you to find something else that you can be passionate about. Especially with exercise, passion and interest in what you're doing makes all the difference. Try to break out of your shell and try new things, maybe some things you previously thought you wouldn't like. You never know what could end up changing your life for the better.

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”