Ten Seconds

Like so many others, I have found myself captivated by the attention that is being poured over the tragedy in Tucson.  I have watched doctors reporting on the condition of Congresswoman Giffords, I’ve listened to eye-witness accounts of the event, I’ve been stunned by the descriptions of those who tackled the gunman. I’ve been broken by the tearful words of the mother who lost her beautiful 9-year old daughter. 

One man reported that it all took place in a matter of 10 seconds.  I just counted to ten, to see what it felt like. Ten seconds is nothing, but in 10 seconds so many lives were changed.  I can’t make sense of it.  My mind won’t wrap around it.

Saturday began with excitement in our home.  We had a pre-planned “Boy’s Day” and “Girl’s Day” in store.  I loaded Chanelle in the car and we traveled the snowy roads for 2 hours to reach my sisters house, while Chad, Charlie, and Chad’s dad (Gramps) traveled almost the same distance in the opposite direction to my BIL’s house. 

She is too cool for school

Our travel time was excellent.  I was a bit concerned that she would get whiny without her usual travel companion (Charlie), but she was a champ.  She read books, sang songs and invited me to play many games of “Opposites” and “Rhyming” that went something like. . .

Me:  Chanelle, what’s the opposite of down?
Chanelle:  Crown!
Me:  Chanelle, what rhymes with sit?
Chanelle:  Stand!

What can I say?  She’s my daughter.

We arrived at my sisters house and enjoyed some much needed sister/girl time.  Have I mentioned before that I love my sister?  I love what we have become as adults.  Friends, confidants, supporters and encourages of each other.  Oh, and I just eat up the way she adores my kids.  Eat. it. up.  When she hugs them, holds them, is silly with them, and watches them like a hawk when we are in crowded places, I can’t get enough of it.  It is truly priceless, but if I had to pay to see it, I totally would.  And when she proudly posts pictures of Charlie or Chanelle on her Facebook page, my heart melts. Yes, it was a good day. . .

We ate, we shopped, and we took in a most awesome flick.  From one who doesn’t get much into kids movies, Tangled was great.  I had to go to the bathroom for the entire second half of the movie, but refused to leave for fear of missing some of it’s awesomeness. 

Before the movie. . . can’t you just sense her enthusiasm?

Too soon we were giving hugs and issuing our “see you soon’s” as we waved good-bye.  After about 30 minutes of Opposites and Rhyming games Chanelle drifted to sleep and I flipped the radio and heard, for the first time, of the days events in Arizona.  My heart sank as I listened to the commercial-less reports of the tragedy that had impacted so many. 


I glanced back at my beautiful little girl sleeping so innocently and felt something that I absolutely hate feeling. . . helpless.  I reflected on the day and saw the laughter we had shared, the movie we had sat through, and the memories we were making and tried to make sense of how such tragedy could occur at the exact same time.  I look at my kids, and like a Momma bird I want to wrap my wings around them and protect them from the world.  I want to shelter them and keep them safe.  I want them not to hurt. I don’t want them to know such evil exists.  I don’t want them to know that in ten seconds, the world can change.


This is life.  This is the world.  In one moment a mother rejoices at the birth of her newborn baby, another sheds tears at the loss of hers.  In a moment a couple says “I do”, while another signs papers of divorce.  In a moment a college grad gets that sought after job and an employee of 30 years gets the news that the company is closing its doors. 

As much as I want to rationalize and explain and make sense of it all. . . I just can’t.  The questions will always be there.  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is so much good in the world.  I see it everywhere.  It is weekends like this, though, filled with such contrasting events that make me furrow my brow and shake my head in wonder. 

As much as I want to, I will never understand it.  I will, however, try to learn to make peace with the questions while being thankful for all that is good and beautiful and lovely in this world.  And if I do nothing else, I can do my best to use this life to point to goodness and light, rather than evil and darkness.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
(Thank you, Trophy Life, for sharing a beautiful quote.)

  • Sassytimes - January 10, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    So sad. I don't understand either. I think we just need to take it as a reminder to live in the moment, soak it up, because like you said, in 10 seconds, it can all change.

    I love how Chanelle always wears leg warmers…and I love that black and white photo of her.ReplyCancel

  • Written Permission - January 10, 2011 - 5:10 pm

    The whole thing was just madness. I especially hate all the political posturing going on now in the aftermath. Ugh ugh ugh.

    This was a lovely post, friend — very insightful, as always. And probably my favorite quote so far — I really need to stitch this on a pillow and carry it with me everywhere.

    I'm glad you had such a wonderful Girls' Day, even if it happened to coincide with those tragic events.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 11, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    Amen….one of my favorite songs and has become one of my favorite sayings is "A New York Minute". The song is by Don Henley but it is basically that a New York minute, because it is in New York is quicker then a minute anywhere else. Life can change in a New York minute or in ten seconds. I can only go to the scriptures then for hope and comfort….I like Proverbs 3:5, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.ReplyCancel

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