I did not know Analiza Gobaton but her life had a profound impact on mine last week. Or, should I say, her death had a powerful impact.
You see, last week, Ms. Gobaton was on her way to her children’s school to attend an awards ceremony. A mother of three; taking time to support her children. It was a beautiful spring day as she sat in traffic. Without warning, she was caught (an innocent bystander and victim) in the middle of a reported shoot out in broad daylight. She was hit by a bullet and died a few days later in a local hospital (http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2010-10-25/story/jacksonville-mom-killed-stray-bullet-while-driving-mass-and-kids-awards).
She was in the wrong place on her way to do the right thing.
I am not sure why this story has affected me as it has. It is one of far-too-many accounts of violence and senseless mayhem we hear of each day in the news. Perhaps it was the randomness of the act. Maybe it was the thought of her children who will now grow up without their mother. Or it might be that her husband is now without his partner, his love.
More than anything else, the tragic act reminded me that we are not promised anything in our world. We are not promised next year, next weekend, or the next hour. Even if we are doing all the right things, there are no guarantees.
“OK,” you may say, “that’s pretty obvious!” Yes it is. But sometimes the obvious is lost or forgotten in the rush of things. We get caught up in life—and in the mean time, we forget about life. It can become easy to overlook what is important; what really matters.
In an article titled “Seize the Day,” Derek Lin (http://www.taoism.net/articles/seizeday.htm) provides a visual reminder that each day is a gift—and if we decide to misuse that gift, it is gone forever. He uses the metaphor of a grid. Think of a piece of graph paper (something like you might use in a math class) with the numbers 1 through 12 down the left side. These represent the months of a year. Across the top are the numbers 1 through 31; these are the days of the month.
As you place your “X” in the box tonight, ask yourself a couple of questions: “Did I use this day wisely?” “Did I make the world a better place?” “Did I move closer to a dream?” Lin challenges his readers to ask, “How many of these grids do I have left?”
The answer to the last question is “Nobody on earth really knows.”