Alan Clark

The mundane. Those things we take for granted. Breakfast in the morning, getting kids off to school, catching the bus, riding to work in the daily grind, sports after school or work, dance, music lessons, etc.

All these activities fall by the wayside when tragedy strikes.

Our daughter-in-law suffered a seizure at 4:30 one morning. Our son went into survival mode, and those things taken for granted changed. His world went from hitting his marks to charting a new course.

At times like these, the fallout affects many within the collateral damage area. Parents and grandparents swing into action with all they can muster. Family, friends, and neighbors take to Facebook to find out the latest.

Lives are altered until the crisis passes, sometimes taking longer than we think. Prayers go up regularly with fervor.

At times like these, we are tested. Most of the time we pass; other times we don’t. Regardless, we lean in, focused on the family in the middle of the circle, holding our communal breath for an outcome.

Our son had a lot going for him in terms of preparation. A West Point graduate, he knew instinctively how to prioritize, what needed to be done and was quick to respond. I know without being physically present near him that he was in as much control as he was allowed to be.

As a Christian, he also saw the hands of God at work in all this and verbalized his faith daily to those who paid attention.

His focus on his wife seemed constant, and she responded best to his encouragement in the first few hours and days of the crisis. The medical staff was as attentive as they are trained to be, professionals at dealing with anything but the mundane.

As of this piece, there is no “the end.” A life is on the line, and there may not be a resolution for some time to come, so the new ways of living we experience may, indeed, become the next normal, a new set of priorities, an altered state made permanent.

It is what we call “humanity,” or what it means to be human. We humans care for each other, respond to emergencies like no other creature, run toward the danger and not away from it.

We console, reach out, try to help as needed, provide our own special gifts for the people we love, give meaning to the phrase “to protect and serve.”

At times like these, we are closer to God than we realize, knowing we ultimately are not in control.

We do what we can proactively, but kneel and pray for the extra help we are incapable of giving. It is the recognition that we do our best for each other, as much as man and woman can do as humans, but ask for more so that we can get back to the mundane, because that’s the way it oughtta be.

Alan Clark is an award-winning columnist and podcaster whose editorials appear here and on Apple Music. The first volume of his columns are available in “You Oughtta Know: Volume One. 2017-2018,” published by Lakeway Publishers, Inc.