Surely, I’m not the only one.
For most of my life, things have always seemed secure and generally routine. The world’s tragedies were things delivered to my doorstep once a day by the 5am paperboy. More detailed news was something I voluntarily walked to the TV to turn on. There were no remotes. Tragic news didn’t wake me from my sleep via smartphone and even later when I could afford a computer, it didn’t erupt onscreen with images of devastation, tragedy and world corruption without my search or consent. Fewer and fewer remember those days not so long ago when the world at least seemed more stable and predictable.
It happened again yesterday, twice.
Maybe it was since 9/11 or even a little before, but that seems a good marker for when the world as I knew it changed. The reality that my country, town and family were no longer shielded from the unpredictable became the new order of thinking. Then all the mass shootings, the waves of home invasions, news of meteoric threats to our planet, notifications of natural disasters within seconds of happening and acts of sheer terrorism were suddenly off the charts, occurring in places nearby we all thought were surely off limits.
I was driving home yesterday when the second moment hit.
Same as the first, there was nothing particularly different. In traffic, music low and about three miles from putting my feet up after a long but productive day at work, it was quick, fleeting and uninvited. That CVS there could suddenly blow up. What if North Korea got a hand up this time and one was incoming, destined for the valley in front of me in ten…nine…eight…? That guy in my parking lot looks suspicious, perhaps lying in wait to gun me down and take my car and my future. I even shot a glance to the sky when the reflection of a plane-that-might explode mid-air caught my eye. Where are my kids right now? Did I tell them I love them when we talked last? Crazy invasive flashes of tragedy to paralyze me for a brief instant as I turned down the radio and cracked open my window in hopes they’ll evacuate my mind and fly out.
But I’m not crazy, and surely, I’m not the only one.
Each time, the moment passes. I relax back to finish the drive home and wonder. This is America, but not the same America I used to feel confident affording me the protections against these kinds of threats that must happen a hundred times more often to those in third world countries and nations like Syria and less stable others of the middle east where driving home from work is a daily unpredictable fear and arriving home could easily find it and your family obliterated by tragedy created by evil men with guns and bombs and ideologies. It’s hard to imagine what a daily reality like that might be like. Crazy, but I think I’m starting to.
I’m not the fearful type. My time to go will be my time and I know where I will land afterward. But the encroachment of evil is happening more rapidly than any time before, a record pace in our American history, and to date, my crazy little moments of doom-wondering pass, but for how much longer?
Odds are, there will come the day when what I’ve only imagined walks right up to the door of my own home or the corner CVS and knocks or opens fire on my secure little mind, and surely, I will not be the only one left wondering if I was actually crazier to believe otherwise.