Sometimes it takes a tragedy to find out who the quality people in your life are. Sometimes a near tragedy is good enough.
I’ve been through the usual number of heartaches in my life. I have been to more than one unexpected funeral. It is often a surprise, the people who show up when you really need them. Sometimes it is a surprise who doesn’t show up as well. These are always the times in our lives when we reevaluate. We prioritize. We look closely at our life choices. We re-consider who we have included in our lives as well.
So often, all we hear about in the news is the worst of humankind; the wars, the murders, the predators. The stories of good, kind, decent humans are heard far less often. My son, while serving his country with the United States Air Force in Baghdad, was witness to much of the worst that humans are capable of. This week, he was witness to some of the best in humankind. For that, we are both humbled and grateful.
I moved my family to Maine many years ago in search of just that. I hoped to find a place to raise my children where they were not only safe, but cared for by a greater community. I was searching for place where we knew our neighbors, where we cared for them and they for us. I have not been disappointed. One thing Mainers are good at is stepping up when times are touch. Mainers give to charities, both in money and in time, in huge numbers. Mainers show up and do what needs to be done regardless of their own personal challenges.
What is the reason for this? I believe, Mainers have heart. Mainers have faith. We know that hard times are always just around the corner. We know that as humans, we are all in this together. We know that we need each other. We know that there is so much more to this life than possessions and prestige.
My family has been overwhelmed in the week since my son’s accident. We have been showered with love and prayers and good wishes. We have received no less than a couple hundred calls, cards, texts, emails and Facebook messages. We have had all sorts of visitors bringing gifts of books, DVDs, hot coffee and warm hugs. Thanks to the many friends I work with at the University of Maine, we have also had food. They have seen to it that I did not have to cook at all this week. We had home cooked meals, Chinese food, baked goods and pizza. We have lacked for nothing. More than anything we have not lacked for love!
And this is why we live here isn’t it. This is why we all call this great state home, because when times are tough, Mainers are tougher. It was nice to be reminded this week, that really, there is so much good in people and especially, there is so much good in Mainers.