We live in a quiet neck of the woods. One of the things that we always say is 'Nothing ever happens here.' We read stories from the big world out there, and we feel lucky. We think, 'Thank goodness I live here. Stuff like that doesn't happen, not here.' Even though it is a lie, because shockingly, things do happen here. It's gotten to the point where every time I catch myself thinking 'stuff like that never happens here', it is immediately followed up by another thought: 'That is no longer true.'
Last week, we had friends in for a cookout. We were sitting on the deck blabbing, and I heard a helicopter. It was not headed west, to Erie, where people go when they are lifeflighted. It did not seem to be coming from the direction of the river, where they often run the length of our county, dropping their load of Bti to control blackflies. But I was blabbing, and laughing, and just sort of registered the sound of that chopper, without giving it a lot of thought.
The next day, we were both shocked to read that a couple eating lunch at a park at a local beach had been accosted by a man with a gun who tied up the man with duct tape and abducted the woman. At 3 in the afternoon. Broad daylight. These things don't happen, not here. But that's a lie. Because they do.
Tim headed out the door for work. I headed out the door for work. I left a note for Cara, sitting atop of the newspaper. "Stay away from the dam" I wrote. And when I got home, that evening, we were blabbing. She laughed at one point. "I was thinking to leave a note saying that me and the gang had gone to the dam to look for that man." And she went on to poo-poo my fears. "He's long gone," she said. "He's not in Warren County."
I looked at this girl. We are so different. But we comfort ourselves with the same words. "It can't possibly happen. Not here." But the difference between her and I is that she still believes it.
This morning, Tim walked out to get the newspaper. There it was. They caught the man. He'd headed up into Canada. I was glad to hear that he is caught. There is so much ugliness in the world. So much that it has begun to overlap into the quiet corners of the world. There's nothing that I can do about it, actually. I know it. All I can do is step out into this world, and try to be the best person that I can. Kind to others. Cheerful. Faith-filled. Seems like an awful small gift to the world. But if we all made that commitment...