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When You've Only Got A Hundred Years To Live

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Tragedy is not limited to those events in life which manage to grab the medias attention for 120 straight hours, even when nearly five times more people have died in the past 24 hours in the Iraqi civil war than did at VA Tech.

Yesterday morning, a 10-year-old boy named Brandon was killed in a police chase in Yadkin County, North Carolina. An alert citizen called 911, believing the driver of the vehicle was drunk. When a police cruiser caught up with the boy and turned on its lights, the 10-year-old fled, at times reaching nearly 90 miles per hour.

The child lost control of the truck, crisscrossing the road several times before smashing into a tree, killing himself and injuring his 7-year-old passenger.

According to a local report, the chase lasted barely a minute, but not all losses happen so quickly. It never made the wire reports.

Many health problems can linger throughout the years, regularly refreshing the pain we feel for the suffering of our loved ones.

Last summer two young boys -- Jacob and J.W. White -- lost their lives when they got away from their grandfather and escaped into the woods to play. A multi-day search found that they had drowned in a rain storm swollen river and washed downstream several miles. They died just 10 minutes from my home.

It never made the national news.

Elizabeth Edwards recently announced her breast cancer had spread into her bones, as well as White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. Like them or not, they both have families who love them dearly and who are themselves suffering through tough times.

Everyone dies eventually, whether it be from natural causes, random acts of gun violence, or terrible accidents. Each has a cause and each teaches us new ways we can prevent them from happening again, but we can't ignore the inevitable.

Always lost in the headlines is the most important lesson of all, which is our own mortality. Some things we can prevent, others we can't, and the best thing we could possibly do is make better use of our time to enjoy the company of those we care about.

If you haven't spoken with your sister, or your father in a while, give them a call. Get the family together and take lots of pictures to remember and enjoy them while you have the chance. Go out with your buddies for a beer (but don't drive!) and ask that girl you've been pining over on a date.

Don't let sour feelings lay either. Make an effort to patch up damaged relationships, because even if it doesn't work, you won't torture yourself later with "why didn't I just try?"

Life is too precious to be flippant about. One day that person is there, and tomorrow they may not be, and there is no going back and getting in those last words. Don't let that last picture be of a fresh grave, or that last memory be blurred because you haven't taken the time to see them for eight months.

Pointless death is a reminder of the harsh reality of life, but it is also a chance for the rest of us to enjoy what we have, while we still have the chance.

"Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But maybe time is also a companion who goes with us on our journey, and reminds us to cherish the moments of our lives... because they will never come again." (Star Trek VII)

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Apr 20, 2007, 10:06:00 AM
Extremely powerful words. Something we all need to take to heart!

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.