Escaping the Sadness of Reality In the Heavenly Beauty of Grafton Lakes State Park

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Looks can be deceiving.  Have you noticed that?  So often we're caught off guard, ripped from our perfect looking, perfect feeling corner of the world and thrown - no, launched full speed into reality.  People we know who seem perfectly happy choose to end their life, jobs that seemed secure are  abolished.  Life as we know it, lives we love and sometimes take for granted are turned upside down.  We saw that all too painfully last weekend with the horrific crash in Schoharie.  In the blink of an eye 20 lives were ended, families lost their loved ones, witnesses and rescuers left with images that will be difficult to erase.   As if that weren't awful enough, Hurricane Michael ravaged communities in Florida leaving the landscape battered and unrecognizable....and that's just the structures.  What it did to the people of that area has yet to be seen.  Everyday, most of us walk through life, navigating our to-do lists, doing our jobs, caring for our families, functioning in our own life and suddenly, reality strikes.

This is what I was seeing a couple days ago.....a beautiful, autumn-tinged world, calm and peaceful giving me a most tranquil few moments of escape.  I have a few places I retreat to when I need an escape from reality....Grafton Lakes State Park is a favorite therapeutic destination.   There was no death, no sadness, no pain, no sorrow, no devastation........just an amazingly beautiful piece of heaven on earth.  For those few was nearly perfect, perfect that is unless my mind drifted back to the awful reality of the tragedy in Schoharie.  Perfect until I couldn't help but think of the mother who lost 4 of her beloved daughters, perfect until I thought of the 17 people who were doing the right thing as they celebrated a life milestone who were now gone.  Perfection is fleeting.  We walk through life and we get caught up in trivia.  We get frustrated with the imperfections ....slow drivers, gas prices, politicians, mistakes in our drive-through orders.  How often do we focus more on the little inconveniences life presents us, but forget to focus on how lucky we are?  How much importance do we place on the wrong things, the wrong people, the wrong priorities?  How often do we look at our glass and see it half full?   So much that happened this week seems unbelievable, too horrible to be true, and that's how those of us unaffected directly feel.  I can't begin to imagine how those families, first responders, and bystanders must feel.  It will be a long time before perfection describes anything in their lives.
I don't know why such terrible things happen, none of us do.  Clergy can't explain it.  Times like this can test people's faith and cause them to ask how God allows such bad things to happen. I imagine if it were my loved one, I'd be asking that too.  I really don't think God failed....people failed in unqualified driver in an unsafe limo.  Unimaginable tragedies happen daily.  I have friends who can attest to that.  And while it pains me to know these friends have experienced such profound loss and devastation.....having the tragedy strike so close to home helps keep me grounded and reminds me daily to be thankful for God's blessings and grace.  It can be so easy to forget.  It's easy to whine and complain and find fault.  Nothing can make the reality of Schoharie or Florida go away, surely not a blog post by me or anyone for that matter.  But what I hope is that in this sometimes discouraging time when the media is filled with negativity and despair, that the serenity of an autumn day at Grafton Lakes State Park might provide a moment or two of reminder that God is most definitely at work in the world.  And a beautiful world it is!!    Please keep all of those affected in the Schoharie crash and in the path of Hurricane Michael in your thoughts and prayers and while you're praying for them, say a prayer of thanks for the blessings in your own life.

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