Fragile life requires priorities

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the news.

Among others, here are several low points.

A Malaysian airliner — a state of the art Boeing 777 — went missing more than three weeks ago and, despite the best efforts of just about every nation with the assets available to search for it, we still haven’t found it.

The best guess — and “guessing”, as I write this, is still where we are — is that it went down somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.

Even if debris (having drifted who knows how far) from the airliner is found, that’s a big ocean down there, we’re entering the southern hemisphere’s winter, and there’s a reason for terms such as “The Roaring Forties” and “The Furious Fifties.”

More than 200 souls went down with that airliner and there’s a strong possibility that we’ll never find them.

Locally, there was a news helicopter that crashed near the Space Needle.

The National Transportation Safety Board has a team investigating the crash and, eventually, we’ll know the reason for that crash.

There were far fewer casualties but, in the blink of an eye, we lost two good people. Both were solid members of their communities. Both were well thought of. Both are now gone.

In Snohomish County, an entire hillside slid away. They’re still searching, but with a one-square mile debris field of mud, smashed houses, toppled trees, crushed cars, rocks and whatnot, there are still many missing. The number of souls lost, though (again, as I write this), now stands at 24.

Outside of the stories that made the news, there have been personal tragedies — possibly even within your circle of family and friends. In my case, in the past month, I’ve lost two very good friends to cancer. One fought the disease for years, the other only learned of it six or seven months ago.

When I was younger, this would’ve all passed more quickly and easily — if that’s the appropriate term. Even with sadness and prayers, my outlook would’ve been different than it is now. Time, however, has given those of us with more than a few gray hairs on our heads reason to pause and consider such incidents.

When we show up on earth, we arrive without any guarantees. No “Hundred Year or Three Billion Heartbeats” (whichever comes first), head to toe, interior and exterior, warranties.

It’s just us facing whatever we’re going to face today. And that “whatever” we’re going to face usually comes without warning. The heart attack. The imbecilic twit in the oncoming lane sending that “absolutely necessary” text message. The ladder that slips from under us while we’re cleaning the second-story gutters. The cancer that’s just been found. The airliner that falls from the sky. The (pick one) tornado, earthquake, volcanic eruption, sink hole, flash flood, etc., etc. that Mother Nature drops onto our doorstep.

And that’s to name just a few.

I’m in Florida just now working up a prodigious sweat while in the process of spoiling my granddaughter. My wife and daughter are nearby too.

And this is precisely where I want to be and with whom I wish to be. Too, I’ve got priorities.

Wondering about the Crimean situation can wait. Worrying about what the “Republicrats” (or “Democans”) are saying that the vile, heinous, and truly evil “Democans” (or “Republicrats”) are doing can wait until hell freezes over. Arguing about the stock market, the deficit, Obamacare or whatever, can wait too.

They can wait because I’ve finally figured out that none of the above — on a day to day basis — are anywhere near as important to me as those with whom I’m living a life.

Call up whichever over-used phrase or expression you want, but I’m going to take or make the time needed to truly enjoy being with those I care about and, more importantly, to let them know that I care. Further, I’m going to keep doing this simply because it feels darned good to do it and I’m just not going to deny myself the pleasure.

I need no further reminders — which will come anyway — that there are no guarantees that any of us will have a tomorrow in which to do it.

Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: larrysim@comcast.net

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