Yesterday, lots of people I know attended the funeral of a teenaged boy. Later, lots of people I know got the news that a young father had died. I knew neither the boy nor the man, but it’s a small town. No grief goes unnoticed. I can grieve neither the boy nor the man, but I do bear the burden of grief for my friends and neighbors.
On the Wednesday night after 9/11, a class I was attending was cancelled. The instructor called each of us. “Class is cancelled,” she said to my answering machine. “Sometimes, life just shouldn’t carry on as normal.”
A boy and a man died yesterday, and many in our small town have paused, as we should. Sometimes, life just shouldn’t carry on as normal. And it didn’t.
We face significant problems in our rural place: stifling poverty, a drug problem that won’t go away, the staggering speed at which rumor becomes fact. And yet, some things we do get right. By virtue—yes, virtue—of the scale of our relationships, we can’t utterly ignore one another’s hurt. And we don’t.