Into every life a little rain must fall. For some, the rain never seems to end. It pours down, making a mess of everything until the day someone chooses to put a permanent end to it.
This entry has been floating around in my mind, and soul, since Thursday evening. Since that night I've randomly heard songs about fallen angels, broken wings, and angels with one wing in the fire.
On the heels of my last entry about choices and helping people, Thursday began like many other days, but as I left the office late that afternoon, a coworker mentioned a nearby road had been closed because of an accident on a bridge. Unaffected by the closure's impact on my drive home, I thought nothing of it. Hours later, as I sat chatting on-line with Kelly (In My Opinion) the phone rang and Sam answered. Within seconds I could tell the voice on the other end had delivered distressing news. Moments later, the road closure and the auto accident hit close to home.
People often say they'd love to have an address on Easy Street. It's a mythical wish really, but it represents to them a life of ease filled with carefree days where everything is in its proper place and rain clouds never cover the sunshine of happiness. I know a couple who live on Easy Street; both physically and literally. High school sweethearts who married shortly after graduation, their life together has been rich and rewarding, and both have enjoyed the benefits of their commitment to each other and their family. Together they raised three children to adulthood, and each has given them wonderful grandchildren. He works for my husband and like him started at the company fresh out of high school over thirty years ago; she works in education, serving as a teacher's aide at a local elementary school. They are well-grounded, fun-loving people with whom we've shared many conversations over dinner. Every year when I address envelopes to be filled with holiday cards, I always pause when writing their address. In my mind, they encompass life on Easy Street.
Naturally they faced their share of problems, and some were created by their youngest child...their only son. When it came to life he never quite got it right and oftenhis choices delivered rain clouds and difficult challenges to the family. The examples of hard work, balance, and harmony demonstrated to him by his parents and sisters seemed to leave no real impression.
Thursday morning just after eight o'clock he chose to leave his own impression by driving his car into a rock hillside.
He was 25.
We know he was fired from his job that morning. We know he had been caught sleeping on the job three times during his six year employment with the company. We know witnesses reported seeing him stopped on the south side of the river just before he drove north across the two lane bridge, passing two vehicles at an estimated speed of 90 miles per hour. We know the brake lights of his vehicle did not light in the seconds before he reached the end of the bridge, the stop sign, the cross road, and then the solid rock hillside.
What I don't know is why.
He had a three year old son of his own, whom he will never see grow.
I know he made some bad choices, choices which led to problems. Temporary problems. But what problem is so great that the only possible solution is to permanently end it all?
I've thought about him all weekend; remembering his bright face, infectious smile and youthful enthusiasm. I've thought about his Mom and his Dad and his sisters. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are experiencing or what this tragedy will bring to their lives.
This year I know when I reach their name on my Christmas card list, I will pause, just as I have every year past. But this time will be different, for Easy Street is no longer the same.