Events of the last several days have made me stop and think about a few things. It began last Monday, December 5. For a Monday, things were going pretty smooth until about noon. I had been working at the high school but had gone back to the middle school to eat lunch. My friend and assistant principal, Lori ran through and said, “Hey, we’re under a white lock down, thought you ought to know. I said “Thanks!” and kept eating. Then I thought something was a little off. By the time I called the office, we were under a red lock down.
Red lock down is a phrase you never want to hear in a school or anywhere else for that matter. It means that there is an eminent threat of danger. I called my friend and co-worker Jonas who had gone home for lunch to tell him what was going on.
I went back to my desk and continued eating. Then I heard voices in the hall saying that a man with a gun had been spotted close to the bus shop. That’s when I got under my desk and hid. I don’t even remember what I was thinking. I think I was too scared to think about much. I did text Phil and tell him what was happening.
Within about 10 minutes the superintendent called to say things were under control, the suspect had been caught but for safety concerns we were going to stay locked down for a little longer. He wanted me to send out a call to all parents saying we were ok. Seems social media was blowing up and naturally parents were scared to death.
The “suspect” was a young man wearing all black, tactical gear, carrying a bb gun walking to a friends house to play video games. He was on the street by the school and some concerned citizens alerted the police. When the man was questioned, he was scared and had no intention of causing any disruption. He just wanted to go hang out with friends.
I spent the next couple of days updating parent phone numbers in our alert system and filling in gaps of our new phone and intercom system. While the event was very scary, it was also very helpful to all of us at school. We found out what we did right in that situation and what we did wrong.
Then Wednesday rolls around. If you read my last blog you may remember I recently had a mammogram. Wednesday, I got the call telling me that “things just didn’t look right, and we need you to have another one and further tests. You need to come see Amber as soon as you can.”
Thursday morning I was on Amber’s doorstep when she opened. She went over the findings, told me not to panic, to stay off of Google and made me an appointment for the next week. I had decided not to tell Phil since our sister in law, Becky is currently battling breast cancer. I didn’t want to worry him if nothing was wrong. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. The hospital left a message on the house phone, and he heard it.
While I tried to go about my normal routine, I couldn’t help but think the worst. I started trying to figure out who to leave my pearls and rings to, who would get my silverware, how would the dogs and Sally ever get along without me there? And on and on.
On Sunday, Jonas texted me to tell me that the young son of one of his relatives and a former student of mine had been killed in a freak accident. My heart broke for the family. There are just so many things in life that I cannot wrap my head around, the death of children is at the top of the list.
Tuesday afternoon I went to the hospital and had another mammogram. A doctor reads the film while you are there so you don’t have to go crazy waiting. Well, I waited there for what seemed like 16 hours (maybe 15-20 minutes). They still weren’t sure what they were seeing. At that point I was a little freaked out. Next, they take me to the ultrasound department to take a closer look.
Here I was able to see what they were seeing. What there were seeing was this big black spot. The technicians weren’t saying anything. They were busy trying to find the best angle, measuring this “thing”. Finally, I said, “Ok ladies, what the hell are we looking at?” They were like, “Oh we are so sorry! This is nothing, its just a cyst. Absolutely nothing to worry about. But, since this is a new machine that we are just learning to use, I would feel better if we go down the hall and look on this other machine.” We go down the hall, they look some more. The doctor comes in, looks for a minute. Looks at me and says, “Nothing is wrong. Do not worry. Lay off the caffeine.” Tells me what they are seeing and goes about his way. I cannot describe the relief and thankfulness I felt at this point.
As I lay in bed that night, I thought a lot about the last few days. The scares and the sadness. Then I remembered that we aren’t promised anything in life, not next year or the next second. I also remembered having lunch with a dear friend a few years back. He ate his dessert first. When asked why he said, “Too many unexpected things happen in life. I could die any minute. Dessert is my favorite and I don’t want to miss it so I always start with it.” Makes sense.
So, I’m going to stop saving my pearls for special occasions and wear them with my jeans. We’re going to use the good silverware and dishes everyday. I’m going to eat that piece of cheesecake if I want it and buy that new pair of running shoes. The bible says that our life is “just a vapor”. Vapors don’t last long, so make the most of the time you have.