So many tragedies happened during the month of December that affected so many people, either very close to home or just that awareness of something horrible happening somewhere else in the universe that leaves our hearts hurting and our heads trying to grasp what is happening to our world. For my teenage daughter, it hit very close to home for her in the death of a friend and classmate. As parents, many times we half jokingly say that we are not equipped for what parenting throws at us, but this is one time I truly understand the meaning of that. Even with a background as a hospice employee, I felt inadequate as I watched my daughter become consumed by anguish. I don’t even pretend to have the whole life/death cycle figured out and that is not the subject of this blog today. What I do know is that we are all connected in this world and it shows the most through our feelings of empathy and concern for others when they are experiening hardships. I feel that someday when we “get” wherever it is that “we go”, we will see the huge picture of why certain people and circumstances came into our life. As someone who believes in a Creator and heavenly Father, I know that whatever explanations we give ourselves here in this life, it will be pale in comparison to the granduer of the explanation we receive from Him. What I do know for now is the reason we are here and I truly believe it is to spread as much love and compassion and generosity to others as we possibly can. What a loss to travel (sometimes it feels more like staggering) through life and miss the point of touching the lives of others. My daughter is 17 and her friend that passed away is 16. Being able to see firsthand what these two young girls did for one another and for others is a true testimony to me about why we never pass up the opportunity to give someone else a smile, a hug, a parking spot, a place in line, a compliment, a helping hand, or a listening ear. What never fails to amaze me is how it works that when we do something nice for another we receive so much more in return than we gave? Just another one of those beautiful miracles of this beautiful gift we call life.