I woke up this morning to the sun shining and the promise of another great beach day. And while I know to appreciate every day that I have in this world, not just the ones that I have on vacation, I fall into the same rut as the rest of us. Knowing that I have it good and taking it for granted. Knowing that I have a life full of miracles and not quite making the most of them every day. Do not get me wrong, because I DO count my blessings every time I look into my sweet boy's eyes. I know what I could be missing if things had gone differently at the beginning of his life. But it is human nature to take for granted what you have...until it's gone. So I posted this quote as my Facebook status for the day, not knowing how poignant the words would be by the end of the day: "Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed." ~Wayne Dyer
And today could be your last. Life can be over in a flash. In so many different ways. I have vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer for the last 18 years, with my parents as a child, and now with my own children. Every summer I know going into the ocean that there are great risks in doing so. Sharks (*shudder*), rip currents, rogue waves. And I do take those risks seriously. I do respect the ocean. But I, like so many, believe that nothing will happen to me. Because I am careful. I am aware of the risks. That makes me invincible, right? I think that is human nature to conjure those thoughts.
I believe that the couple I watched die on the beach today probably believed the same things. Yes, I said I watched a couple die in front of me today. And I am forever changed for it. I did not know them. But they were loved by someone. They were parents. A sister. A brother. Friends to someone. To many, probably. And they went into the ocean to swim. Such a simple mission that ended in such tragedy. I watched as strangers swam out in an attempt to help strangers swept out by the power of the ocean currents. I watched as lifeguards plunged into the ocean to save lives. I watched as four people were pulled to shore, two gray and lifeless. And I watched as teams of paramedics worked for ten minutes straight trying, to no avail, to resuscitate a man and his wife. Two lives taken by a rip current. In an instant. Life is so fleeting. And these are moments that remind me of that truth.
I was deeply disturbed by what happened today, not just because of what I witnessed, but because I know it could have happened to anyone. To me, even. We were out in the ocean today too. WITH the kids! (As an aside: They do wear life vests whenever they are even near the ocean...by far the best investments we have ever made!) But I guess today was not my time. So now I will take the events of today with me for life and use them to count my blessings. To be thankful for every day that I have. For all of the people in my life.