Last week I attended one of my granddaughters’ 8th grade graduation. She lived in Paradise, went through all the grief of the fire, had her school moved to another town. The school held their graduation ceremony in one of the few buildings still standing in Paradise, a fairly large church. There were probably 250 plus people attending the ceremony along with the 40 or so students graduating. Nearly all there had lost everything in the fire on November 8th.
As the first student was giving her reflection speech, talking about living through, and with, the disaster – and remember, many of these students experienced the fire up close- about 100 or so cell phones suddenly went off with an emergency warning as a severe thunderstorm was heading right over the church. These are loud and disturbing warnings. Momentarily, our breath was taken away.
The student bravely continued but hearing her speech became difficult as hail and thunder soon roared over our heads. I kept thinking, “Really? Can’t these kids (and us adults) catch a break?” For some in the room, in was their first return to their devastated community. How unlucky can someone be? I would even say it was traumatizing… given the context of it all.
A couple of days later, in our backyard, as I floated in our new above ground swimming pool, I reached over the edge to the cherry tree and I picked handfuls of ripe cherries. I felt like the luckiest man on earth. How does one experience such different emotions in just a few days? Soon after that I was eating fresh picked squash for dinner. Then I watched a most magnificent sunset. After that I gently held two new additions to our lives.
It is an odd little life we live – but it sure is interesting.
(Picked these cherries from that tree in no time at all! And, meet Linus and Lucy. Supposedly we got them to be barn cats, but they are already taking on the role of royalty.)