Thursday, November 15, 2007

Life and Death in a Small Town

Tragedy has struck at home, and 20-year-old Alex Nelson has passed away in a car accident while his two friends who were with him walked away. Everyone is really shaken up, and I think my sister Alicia stated well why this is so hard on all of us, no matter how close we were or weren't to him:

"The worst thing about a small town is that everyone knows everything about everyone. What happens when someone you know everything about, dies? It doesn't matter how close you were to them. It matters that you shared a place that was dear to you. You play in the same playground. You tell the same stories of the lame town you grew up in and call home. You shared moments with the person's mother. You graduated with the persons brother. Your families go to the same church. Just the same, you know everything about him, he probably also knew everything about you. When he dies, a part of you also dies. We will all mourn together. This is what it means to be in a small town."

So true. and so sad. Yet at the same time, we have to ask: is that a negative thing to know everyone, to have those kinds of relationships? Maybe that's one of the gifts of the small town... that when something happens, you have a network of support, because it has affected everyone on some level and it isn't just "your problem." Better yet, you don't have to make those "dreaded phone calls" or explain yourself...because everyone already knows. My small town has made me who I am (for better or worse). They have supported me, encouraged me, battled with and challenged me... I am grateful for all that my small town that will always be home has offered me.

I didn't know Alex that well, yet I did at the same time. I know his brother, who I graduated with. We have countless mutual friends, including my little sister who also graduated with him.

May Alex RIP as we keep his family, friends, and our community in our thoughts and prayers.

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