published Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I’m not always OK, but that’s all right

There are events in our lives that seem to shake us out of our routines. They remind us of the fragility of life.

In high school, car accidents took the lives of some of my classmates. I also lost my aunt, who was a close friend. And, in this past month, the tornadoes that devastated the Chattanooga area have brought death to everyone’s front door.

In these shocking moments, we are presented with the hard realities of life. Our plans and our understanding of the world are put into question.

We realize that survival is still a strong force within our lives and that everything can change in an instant.

Usually, people in their 20s, myself included, approach life with a sense of invincibility. We think “Oh that will never happen to me” and if it does we will quickly recover.

Instead of having this attitude, we should stop to appreciate how lucky we are to be alive and that not everything is going to be ideal.

Too many times I have felt pressure to make everything all right. If I fall down the stairs, I am supposed to get up, smile and shake it off. If I make a bad grade on a test, I think, “Well, next time I will make a 100.” We attach perfection to every situation.

After the initial shock of tragedy, there is a rush to make everything OK, to return life to normal when it has so fundamentally changed.

After my aunt died, there were the constant questions from friends: “Are you OK?” “Is everything all right?” These questions were always asked with urgency.

Well, of course I was not OK, and no all was not all right. I wanted someone to ask how I was feeling, to hold my hand and to share their experiences instead of implying that I should move on.

We should realize that grief and survival are part of our human character.

Life is truly a gift.

We should honor and appreciate the lives of those lost, heal and rebuild with the appropriate time and eventually restore a new sense of peace within our lives.

Email Corin Harpe at corinharpe@gmail.com.

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