New Castle News

April 22, 2013

Lisa Madras: Don’t waste your life — it’s a precious gift that’s far too short

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — When did you first realize that life is short?

I'm sure I don't need to remind you of last week's tragedy at the Boston Marathon. The images of that horrific event have taken their place in our souls right next to those of 9/11, the Sandy Hook shooting and every other devastating event in recent history.

A moment that should have been filled with hugs and celebratory bottles of water and the jubilation of personal triumph was instead turned into yet another spectacle of the power of evil.

For some of us, events like this are a strong reminder of the brevity of life. We think about the unexpectedness of death — how a simple trip to the grocery store or a bus ride to school could so easily become ours, or a loved one's, final act.

In this particular tragedy, more than 23,000 participants had spent countless months or even years preparing for what should have been a testament to determination, hard work, and personal achievement. More than 23,000 examples of physical and mental accomplishment, destroyed in one moment by the devious machinations of one disturbed individual.

We think about how it could happen to any of us, at any moment. And if not a terroristic act, perhaps a tumor, or slippery patch on the interstate, or some faulty electrical wiring.

Despite the unlikely probability of having your life cut short unexpectedly, we all realize that it does happen. And whether you're overly cautious or live with wanton abandon, no one is completely immune.

We should all live with the knowledge that life is short. Far too many of us spend our weeks waiting for Friday, our months waiting for summer, and our lives waiting for happiness.

You see, the thing about the Boston Marathon runners is that not a one of them was waiting. They were training, they were working toward their goals, and they were living their happiness. Those who survived will most likely not let what happened last week keep them from continuing to live.

We should all take a moment from our grief and our fear to acknowledge and appreciate the lives we've been given. Stop waiting.

Because as we all saw at that fateful finish line, life is a precious gift that can be taken away far too soon.