You Can Learn From Anything

I was in Michael's, picking up a stamp for the thank-you cards I sent after Gabe's death, and there was this magnet, and I have wished, ever since, that I bought it.

You can learn from anything

I reject, completely, the notion that these sorts of things happen for a reason. Gabriel did not die so that Mr. Spit and I could be more compassionate, he didn't die because God needed him more, he didn't die to teach us to depend on God, he didn't die because of something I did, or did not do. He didn't die so that Mr. Spit and I could grow closer, he didn't die because of my mother's heart attack the week before. He simply died. It was and is hellish and awful, and there's no great meaning in it.

If you must have a reason, let it be this: Gabriel Anton died because pre-eclampisa is a terrible disease. It is a disease first recognized 2000 years ago, and even today, it takes a mother's life every 12 minutes. Gabriel died because pre-eclampsia kills. Gabriel died because the only cure for pre-eclampsia, 2000 years after its discovery, is to deliver the baby.

You can learn from anything.

I remember the magnet, because it was part of a choice I made, on December 11, 2007 and on September 3, 2009. I made a choice that I would learn from this. And that decision never has rested easily. I don't want to find meaning in Gabe's death, particularly, if only because it seems to me that if I can find meaning, Gabe's death meant something, in some sense, it happened for a reason. Maybe, my brain whispers, if it happened for a reason, it should have happened. It wasn't merely evil that touched our lives that day, it was planned, it had to happen. It wasn't just some sort of dumb luck.

In spite of my misgivings, it seems to me that it is the nature of human's, it is the image of God in us, to find some sort of meaning in things. When we can't find reason, we try to find at least something we can take from the experience. So, I decided if there wasn't any reason to find, at least there was learning.

And I think, at least part of what I have learned is the danger of apathy.If Gabriel's death has taught me anything, it has taught me the danger of the halfway gesture, of giving just enough, of not going all in.

And thank you for your very kind words and your support yesterday. I still don't have a paved road, but I do have people to call at the City, to start demanding answers. I cannot help but think that if I lived in one of the Tony neigbourhoods, it would only have taken a month or so to replace light standards, sidewalks, curbs and re-pave the road, not 3.5 months. And that makes me angry indeed.