I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like not to be free. Yesterday as I watched the Amanda Knox verdict I began thinking about a few things that happened over the past week regarding life in general and what we choose to appreciate. I’m not going to get into a debate about whether she was guilty or innocent. What struck me was her reaction when she heard the verdict and what she said afterwards. She was so relieved that she was going to once again be free that she could barely stand and had to be held up as they escorted her out of the courtroom. Later, after she was released, it was reported that all she wanted to do was to go home and lie in field of green grass. Interesting.
I also saw a show last week about the Memphis 3, a group of 3 young men who were arrested eighteen years ago and convicted for the deaths of three very young boys. The person believed to be the ring leader was sentenced to death and was being held in solitary confinement. His life was filled with days where he had no sunshine, lived within four walls with a concrete slab and mat for a bed, a hole in the floor for a bathroom and a slat in the door where his meals could go in an out. His only “luxury” was a television but he only had the basic channels, no cable. He described the things he had to do in order to cope with these horrific conditions and how he began to lose his ability to see things far away as he rarely had to use his eyes to see beyond the confines of his four walls. He was allowed one visitation each week for three hours on Sundays. That is how he lived his life for eighteen years until modern science and a review of the investigation shot huge holes into the conviction. Can you imagine not seeing the sun for eighteen years, not knowing whether it was day or night and only having human contact for three hours a week? And what he said he appreciated the most about being free was being out in the sun again, feeling the warmth of the sun on his face. Interesting.
Lastly, a close friend of mine lost her younger sister last week. She died from a pulmonary embolism, quick and gone. There was literally nothing anyone could do to save her. My friend had breakfast with her sister just last Sunday and in the blink of an eye everything changed. She talked about how wonderful it was to have that time with her and how glad she was that she made the time to do it. A simple breakfast, interesting.
It struck me how in each one of these situations the things that mattered the most were the simple things. I remember when my mom was dying and it was getting near the end. My life was turned upside down and all I longed for was a “normal” day. A normal day. I wanted the little things like relaxing over a cup of coffee on the deck, going to work, coming home and having dinner with my husband, no hospitals, no doctors, no nursing homes, no insurance companies, no illness. I wanted a normal day. And no money in the world could buy me that at the exact time that I wanted it.
So, that begs the question of what is truly important in our lives. Do we stop and think about it? Are our priorities straight? When was the last time you truly appreciated lying in a field of green grass, feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, having breakfast with someone close to you, appreciating a normal day. Little things really, but once they are taken away from you they become the most important of all.