When a life begins, we greet it with so much hope and love. We hold our precious little ones in our arms, gazing into those mysterious eyes. We whisper, “Be safe!” We pray, “Be healthy!” We promise, “I will protect you.”
But life is not so simple. Life is not a smooth, straight road, leading us from birth to a quiet death in our old age.
Life does not promise us health or peace or love or joy.
Life is such a tender threat. It can be snapped by so many unforeseen things. It can be broken in a heartbeat.
Today was a day when I was given the great gift of sharing lunch with a former student. She is beautiful, accomplished, happy. She will be getting married soon. We have known each other for 13 years, and I have been so blessed to have watched her grow and thrive.
Today was a day when I heard the awful news about the sudden death of another former student. She was beautiful, kind, sweet, thoughtful. She was cautious, unsure of herself. I remember her as hesitant to answer a question. I remember her face lighting up with pleasure when she was right.
Life is a tender and fragile thread.
Every minute that we spend with a young person is a gift, in which we both give and receive.
Tonight I am filled with joy at the knowledge that one of “my” kids is thriving. I am filled with sorrow that one is gone.
Hug your children. Hold them close. Tell them that they are your greatest gifts.