“Life is short, and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” ~ Henri-Frederic Amiel
We took our daughter to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Tuesday night. Before heading over to the theatre, however, we made a quick stop by a nearby Dollar Tree, wasting time, if nothing else. While there, I scoured through their dollar packs- hoping to find something worthwhile. There was nothing I could live without- but I did settle on five packs of stuff I normally don’t even look at. But for a buck each- sure, why not?
Believe it or not, I didn’t rip the packs immediately. In fact, it took me a while after we got home to even think about the newly acquired cardboard houses.
Please bear with me- I will get to the cards, but first I need to explain why it would take so long to enjoy the contents…
Shortly after the previews began in the theatre, my wife’s phone buzzed. Her dad. She decided not to answer it.
Having a somewhat unexplainable, uneasy feeling, I told her to take the call (I thought it would be about her grandfather-who’s 91 and just lost his wife). She said she’d wait for a voice mail. It didn’t show up, but my phone then buzzed. Immediately I left the theatre for the lobby and answered the call.
Two things don’t mix well: crowded theatre lobbies and a person who doesn’t hear very well on cell phones. I was having difficulty hearing just what my father-in-law was saying, but two words stopped me in my tracks. Sue’s dead. After that was more confusion and I told him I’d have my wife call him back.
As it turns out, my wife’s dad and step-mom had taken their granddaughter on a chartered flight. For reasons still unknown to us, the plane crashed in the forest near a winter recreation area. Three survived; my mother in law didn’t. Our niece is in a burn unit, receiving treatment for the injuries. My father-in-law has been released from the hospital, but not without what will surely be scars- both external and internal. No word on the condition of the pilot.
After arriving home that night, both my wife and I worked our phones- she, talking to family and me notifying friends and family, requesting prayer for their family. Once done, I sat at our kitchen table, looking at the packs of cards I had purchased. As my mind was still trying to process the events of the day, I thought about how insignificant my earlier purchases are in the grand scheme of things. And yet, I remembered how they can also serve as a diversion, and I decided to open the packs- hoping that for at least a few minutes I could escape the horrors that had befallen my wife’s family.
I decided to open the two Americana Heroes & Legends packs first. I knew nothing about these cards but thought it was more of a pop-culture type of set (I had ignored the second part of the set name). Of the 10 cards, six were of astronauts and airmen. So much for a diversion.
On to the baseball packs…
That’s right, Cole, mock my team’s weak, anemic offense. You may have pitched a no-no, but Kershaw is still the man to be feared.
YES! A NEW SMOLTZIE FOR MY COLLECTION. Oh, a funny one to try and cheer me up.
A card of the Ryan Express- and one of Matthew Ryan Kemp. I still don’t get how Panini can get the team colors correct for these two teams, but can’t for my Braves. *Sigh*
As I said earlier, our hobby is a great diversion from the trials in life, but that is all it is: a diversion. The sadness and questions of how and why were awaiting me just minutes later; the joy of opening the packs- as short as life itself.