Last week, I wrote about how we spend a good part of our lives in sorrow because of suffering that is, in most cases, unavoidable. I provided a short but specific definition of the word “suffer,” which is, “to undergo or feel pain or distress.” I then provided the definition of “sorrow,” which is “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.”
You may have heard about the incident a couple of weeks ago (October 22) in Ottawa, Canada, when a Canadian soldier was gunned down by a homegrown terrorist, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The soldier’s name was Corporal Nathan Cirillo, and at the time of the incident he was on duty as a ceremonial guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Canadian National War Memorial.
When I was 13 years old, a cousin of mine died as a result of a tragic accident. He was 11 years old at the time of his death. The day after he died, my parents and I went over to his parents’ house to visit his family. I went with my parents because I had been a good friend of my cousin and still was a good friend of his older brother.
About 15 years ago, I met a couple whose 20-year-old daughter was instantly killed when her car was hit by a train. She died five minutes after she walked out of her parents’ home. She was on her way to class at Illinois Central College. When she left the house, her mother told her goodbye and told her that she looked beautiful.
I’ve written before about how I broke my leg when I was a boy. The events leading up to my broken leg began during the summer of 1967, when I was 10 years old. While holding onto the end of an old rubber garden hose, I climbed the weeping willow tree in the back yard of my parents’ home. When I got about 20 feet high, I climbed out onto a thick branch and tied the end of the hose to the branch.