Something happened yesterday that really shook my mom up. Our next door neighbor took his own life. He was a young man, in his 30's with an entire life of ups and downs ahead of him. And now, not.
My mom heard the gunshot, and she heard another neighbor cry out. With that, all of his potential futures came to a jarring and sudden end.
I don't know why and I never will. No one will.
I don't know if he had suffered a mental illness and was unable to find relief. I don't know if he was despondent over something that happened, and it was spontaneous. I don't know if drugs or alcohol were involved. It may have been a combination of the above, or not. I just don't know.
Here's what I do know: I know that many years featuring great happiness and blinding heartache will not happen for him. I know that the people who love him are devastated and will live the rest of their lives wondering how they could have missed his pain, and if just one phone call could have prevented it.
They will have years of heartbreak and regret to try to deal with the loss. They will never get over it. Ever.
Pain is transient. It weaves itself into and out of our lives...constantly. But, then so does joy. Happiness is certainly something to strive-for but it isn't guaranteed. Satisfaction is a lower bar, and contentment far easier to achieve. Learning to embrace joy when it pops-up is the ultimate game of whack-a-mole. But pop up, it does.
From the first blush of a new love, to the moment you get a smile from a newborn...from the satisfaction of deep friendships to new acquaintances who make your heart do a happy dance, life is full of ups.
Do you fully embrace those ups? Enjoy them in the moment? We have to choose how we see our lives...as a painting by a master, or as a series of pencilings in comic book-style.
Myself, I'm looking at life as if it is The Starry Night, not Captain America.
Photo Credits: Wikicommons