Thursday, May 22, 2008

Puts things into perspective....

That is the email message I got from Chris about 2 hours ago. He was referring to this. Steven Curtis Chapman, a very popular Christian recording artist, had a tragic family accident yesterday, in which his 5 year old daughter was struck by a SUV in their driveway and was killed. It is obviously a very tragic event, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

When I initially started this blog, my intent was to write about my running endeavors and rehab as it pertains to running. It has been close to 8 months since starting it, and the focus of the blog has turned more to running, instead of rehab, based on my frequent reader's request... Very few times I have talked about my wife, kids, etc. but every once in a while, I just have to say something about them, because they are so important to me. This blog post will not pertain to much about running, so if that's what you came here for... don't leave!!! Just read on...

Right now, the economy stinks, gas prices are high, homes are foreclosing all over, and jobs are being lost left and right... and I am not discounting any of those things... because they are important... but if you put things into perspective, you can really realize how blessed we all are.

In 1997, about 4 months before I started PT school, a tragedy happened in my family. My cousin, Brian Runcie, was killed on his way into a club in Kentucky, where he just recently moved to. Brian and my older brother were extremely close, and did everything together. Brian got me my 1st job at TJ Maxx, he was my older brother's roomate in college for 4 years, they started their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd business together... basically he was like my older brother. Brian was also extremely brilliant. He was a computer genius and got his 1st "corporate job" with IBM in Kentucky, immediately after graduating from Florida A&M. Even though he was very grateful for his job, he was extremely lonely in Kentucky, because he had no family or friends there. One night, he was on the phone with his girlfriend, and said he was going to go out. The club he went to was in a storefront and after he parked his truck, he walked his way to the entrance of the club. On his way to the entrance, he looked to his right and saw a young teenager through a glass window stealing something at a convenience store. The teenager came out of the store, and the details are a little sketchy from here, but witnesses say he pulled out a gun and shot Brian in the center of his head. Brian was dead by time he got to the hospital. This was an extremely hard time for many of us in our family. After a time of serious grieving, I actually was able to put many things in perspective. I no longer looked at getting older as "Oh my, I'm getting older... this stinks" I am now so grateful for every birthday that comes my way. This situation that happened today with Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter has again made me look at the big picture on stuff that is really important. So, here is my reality check that I do sometimes if I start feeling sorry for myself or my situation:

Am I alive?

Do I have at least one family member or friend that I have the potential to confide in?

Did I have food within the last 48 hours?
If not, am I still alive?

At least a few times times a year, I tend to think about Brian, and wonder if he was alive, what would he be doing now? What company or companies would he have owned? Would he have kids? Would he have gotten married by now?

As much as my wife doesn't like when I talk about this, I realize that at any time, this could be my last day on this earth. It could also be one of my kids last day, or my wife, or any of my family members or friends.... I mean its gonna happen, right? I know... this is not something we want to address... but the truth is, you gotta live life!!! Thank God for your blessings.... don't leave anything on the table... take advantage of everything that comes your way, and make an impact in something.

To some of my co-workers, friends and family, I frequently come off as very impatient... wanting to do crazy things... now!!! People always say, "Greg, you have all the time in the world... you're young." But who says that my last days are not just around the corner? If you knew you were going to die in two months, would you do anything different? Would you reconcile a broken relationship with someone? Would you try to work harder, in order to set up a future for your kids? Or lay back on work a bit to spend more time with your family because you have been absent in major parts of their lives?

My point is that if you are reading this blog, I am assuming that you have been living for at least 4x as long as Maria Chapman... and her life has ended here on earth. Unfortunately, her time expired without her getting a chance to experience a lot of the things that we are experiencing.... don't wait... do it now!!!


Kerry said...

Greg, very good post. So true! So true! I am touched by this and you are right when tragedy happens it makes you put everything into perspective. It's good to see your sensitive side too! :)

Anonymous said...

I hate to correct you, but Brian died in 1998. I lost my father on May 20th of that year. Brian was the first person I called from the hospital for support. And two weeks later...Brian was murdered.

Words cannot explain the devastation that I felt at that time of my life. At that time I was living in Ohio. Brian and I had been planning to meet up in Cincinnati at the end of June.

I too am plagued by so many questions, so many "what ifs". What if he would have just left Kentucky, and took another job like he wanted to.... What would his life be like today? Did he know how much I cared about him? Why would God take away someone so good, in the prime of his life?

I'm positive there are a lot of us who knew Brian who still have these questions, even after a decade.

So I agree with you completely when you say enjoy today. No day is promised. And if you care about somebody, let them know!