Winning the lottery means waking up to the chances

Had the day to myself, nothing much on the agenda, outside of rain and a schedule fat with errands made in flips flops.

Pick up the boy . . .

Drop off papers at work . . .

Lunch with girlfriend . . .

Grocery Shopping . . .

Movie night with the girl . . .

I woke up to headlines of a nightmare shooting. My first thought was the phone. My son had spent the night out with friends. They had gone to a midnight showing of Dark Knight. I checked my phone to find no messages and then the news introduced me to a different place- Aurora, Colorado.

You thank God, and you almost feel guilty in the doing. Because you know there are parents who weren’t so lucky. Parents who woke up in the middle of the night to the worst possibility imaginable. They woke up to the news that their child wasn’t coming home. And it wasn’t a war that took them away forever. It was a movie theater. Inside of a middle of nowhere summer night. The kind of summer night that’s supposed to be promising you more of a good thing, not less.

It’s easy to forget how fragile a string we inhabit, until days like this come along to remind us. Until the number of fatalities in a movie theater in a middle of nowhere summer night start growing, meanly.

And that’s when you realize that, you just never know and so you better be thankful for having a chance at those things so simply made. Of summer nights where the most difficult decisions have to do with dinner. It’s another chance to make things up as you go along, to laugh at bad jokes, to smile and to scrape and to spoil and to scream silly. Another chance to love and to be loved; to say “I love you”, and if you’re really lucky, to catch its echo. Another chance to lose and to win and to pretend it matters for more than a moment’s time. Another chance to shrug off the mistakes, the less complicated ones.

I’m taking the girl to a movie tonight. Not sure what movie we’re gonna see. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we’re going and that we’re gonna have a time of it.

A friend of mine put it best inside a day full of forgettable. “Hug your babies” is how she put it.

Pray for the simple things.


11 thoughts on “Winning the lottery means waking up to the chances

  1. You said so much in this post. Life is supposed to be simple with ups and downs and problems we can solve and others we learn to deal with. When something like this happens, all we can do is say a prayer for those involved and hug our loved ones.
    I wake up every morning very thankful for the day.

    • Susie- I remember going up to NY a month after the Sept 11 attacks as a volunteer. A bunch of us went up in a van to new color coded warnings of impending doom. We were scared shit as to what might happen, yet three days later we were upset we couldn’t go to the top of the Empire State Building. The bad guys might own a day, but we own the rest.

  2. (It’s easy to forget how fragile a string we inhabit) That line is AMAZING! (to say “I love you”, and if you’re really lucky, to catch its echo) I my friend have been very lucky and blessed by this echo for almost 40 years. (Not sure what movie we’re gonna see. Doesn’t matter) My wife and I almost every sunday for the last 10 years have breakfast then we go see a movie, once my wife asked me why we were going to see that movie, thats not your kind of movie she asked and I replied. I have not seen a movie in over 10 years, i’ve been going to the theater to sit next to you and hold your hand while I reflect for an hour and a half about this great life you have given me. life is so very fragile. I really learned this lesson during my months stay in the neuro I.C.U. recovering from the ruptured aneurysm that almost took my life. So yes “Hug your babies”

  3. “Pray for simple things” … I like that … “to say “I love you”, and if you’re really lucky, to catch its echo” I love that one. Poetic. A really great and inspiring post. Good job. It’s always great to be reminded to of gratefulness.

  4. I woke up to a text msg on my phone asking if I was doing okay. I was in Fort Collins, CO and was told to turn the news on. I couldn’t effin believe it. You tell yourself that you could go at any minute but you think a car wreck or some freak accident but a night at the movies? Geez. You are correct…hug your loved ones just a little bit closer.

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