I have duty today. I'm in the color detail, which means that I lower or raise the ensign (United States flag) on my duty days. Today we raised the flag at half-mast to honor those who lost their lives at the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. This doesn't just hit close to home with me, this hits home. My wife and I used to eat at the Swenson's ice cream restaurant in the very shopping center that the shootings took place. That little girl who died had just been elected president of some club at her school. She was the chosen representative to attend the function. If she had had fewer votes, she might be alive today.
When your number's up, there's nothing you can do to stop it. On the other hand, when your number's not up, you can go through the craziest shit and live to tell about it. That lady was the target and she survived cuz it wasn't her time to go yet.
One time, a bunch of my friends and I were in the deserts of Tucson and we decided to build a bonfire. What we didn't know was that we happened to be in the middle of a popular target shooting area. There were spent casings all around, but even worse, there were live rounds everywhere as well. The heat from the fire was setting them off. Everyone was scrambling around, hiding behind trees and stuff. I just sat calmly by the fire cuz I knew, if it was my time, one of those stray bullets would hit me or an airplane might crash land into my head if the bullet missed. If it wasn't my time, every bullet would miss me. Some of them came pretty close. One even hit a paper cup that was sitting right next to me, but I was unfazed.
I seem to have a sense about those sorts of things. I don't know if it's insight from above or what. It's like Frankenstein's pinky. When they were shooting the scene where the monster was supposed to chase Victor's fiance on the night of their wedding, the actress was too frightened of Boris Karloff to shoot the scene. Between takes, she was okay, but when he was acting, he was too menacing. He worked out a sign with her. When the director yelled, "Action!" he would chase her, but he would wiggle his pinky to let her know that it was just him underneath all that make-up and costume. He would not harm her. She agreed and they were able to successfully shoot the scene.
No matter what I've been going through in life, there has always been that pinky wiggling to tell me that there's someone who loves me who's in charge of everything. That way I know that even if I don't understand what's going on, I can trust that it's part of a larger plan that I am blessed to be a part of.
As much as I don't like being in the Navy, if I wasn't in the Navy, I might have been eating at that Swenson's with my wife. Some other sailor might have been raising that flag at half-mast in honor of us.