At any moment life as we know it can change forever. We never know when and we never really expect it but unexpected tragedy does happen to countless people every single day.

This past Saturday we were up early and it was beautiful to see the sun rise over the mountains. Larry and I drove up to the SLC area to be interviewed on a radio station. (See the personal message from this issue if you’d like to hear that interview.) It was a wonderful experience and a great start to what we thought would be a terrific day.

Our oldest daughter was in SLC for a few days as one of her sons had a basketball tournament. After we got back home we headed straight for the yard and spent a few hours weeding the flower beds and just getting the whole yard ready for the season. Our daughter stopped by on her way home to tell us what happened after the tournament when they were walking to the car. Her 4 year old was picked up by a sudden “micro-burst,” a freak storm which carried her a few feet before dropping her to the ground! Our granddaughter was hysterical and it took 10 minutes to help calm her as it was such a frightening experience. Thankfully she wasn’t seriously hurt or killed. I’d never heard of this type of thing other than what a full-force tornado could do so it was quite shocking to think it could pick up a child like that!

Just after hearing this experience, I saw I had a missed call from our daughter-in-law. I called back and found that a different micro-burst storm in a different city had split a huge tree in half in their neighbor’s yard. The storm violently threw branches from that tree into our son and daughter-in-law’s yard and one of the limbs killed their beloved dog, Trooper. It happened so fast and he was gone leaving them devastated.

Our hearts are so sad for the loss of this beautiful dog. Trooper was full of love for his family. He will forever be missed and there is a huge hole in their life without his boundless and joyful personality brightening every day. Their little girl is now without her constant companion and she too feels this huge void. One split second changed their lives and they grieve this terrible loss.

Our hearts are also so grateful our children and grandchildren were not killed in the two freak micro-burst storms that hit this area Saturday. We don’t know but it’s possible that someone, somewhere else was killed due to this same type of thing that very day or another beloved pet was killed. What we do know is that tragedy strikes when we least expect it and we can’t take it back. We can’t undo it. We can’t turn back time and we can’t change our schedule. We can’t wish it away or keep ourselves immune. We can’t be soo good that it doesn’t happen to us! Bad things happen to good people. None of us are exempt. Any of us could be caught at the wrong place just at the wrong time when tragedy strikes.

What we can do is live each day without regret. Live with gratitude for every single thing. See the blessing in even the hard things because there are always blessings when we look for them…always, always something could have been much, much worse. AND, most of all, lets allow our trials to GROW us with EMPATHY for other’s suffering. For most certainly there are others who are right now suffering loss, suffering trial and suffering unseen tragedy. We can use our experiences to show compassion, reach out in empathy and be a person who can help to lift burdens simply because we too, know how it feels.

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