I’d been having a bad week. I’d been divorced for a little over a year and my new relationship was developing a few problems. My career wasn’t going as well as it could, and minor irritations were starting to get blown out of proportion. I remember thinking that things couldn’t get any worse.

I was half-heartedly listening to the radio as I got ready to go to work, caught up in “poor me” thinking, when I heard the announcer say my younger brother’s name. He had just died in an accident.

I learned that day there is nothing so bad that it can’t get worse or isn’t worse for someone else.

When your marriage is falling apart it’s very easy to focus in on yourself and believe that things can’t get any worse. But they can. And for those thousands of people who died on September 11, 2001, and the hundreds of thousands of family and friends who never got to say a proper goodbye, it did.

I listened to a trauma specialist discuss the possible aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and he said the divorce rate would probably increase as a result. I can understand that. If you’re in a bad marriage and you feel the situation is hopeless, the reality of how quickly life can end might be the push you need to file for divorce. Maybe it also helped to bring together those husbands and wives who had been letting little problems get the best of their marriage.

After 9/11 there were various news reports of violence against people who are of the same ethnic background as the suspected terrorists. To take action against someone because they’re the same color or race as the persons suspected of these acts is no different than a man who says all women are bad because his wife left him for another man or a woman who says all men are abusers because she was abused by her husband.

We need to focus our anger on those who deserve it not those who “resemble” them or we will miss out on the chance to have new relationships with people who could enhance our lives.

Life is fragile at best and certainly should never be taken for granted. Never believe things can’t get any worse. They can.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.