Have you ever watched a movie in total disbelief, thinking to yourself, "There's no way all of that can happen to one person"?  I have, too.  However, last week completely changed my perspective.  Monday and Tuesday are a complete blur for whatever reason, but Wednesday through Friday.... Boy, let me tell you:

This year, I decided that I'd get a jump on Christmas. In years past, I've always waited until the weekend before the holiday to do all of my shopping, but I didn't want to be as pressed for time this year and run the risk of not finding the items I'd placed on my list to get for certain individuals.

So, I went shopping in an area 45 minutes from my house. At the first store, I completely ran out purchasing items for myself, which really was not my intent! I was slightly ashamed at my total, and it made me anxious to go to a more kid-friendly store.  Well, on the way there, my sister wanted to make a stop at another shopping center because she'd placed a pair of boots on hold for an exchange.  So, we decided to stop there before going to the store where I wanted to shop.  As luck would have it, we ended up spending the rest of the evening at this shopping center.

As closing time came close, we decided to go home and possibly return to the area to do a little shopping on the upcoming weekend. Well, as we walked towards the exit, I started to search for my keys so that I'd have them in hand before getting outside.  No luck!  That's right, I lost my keys in a mall 45 minutes away from home!  I went back inside the mall to retrace my steps because we'd gone to only 4 stores, but I still did not find my keys.  So, my next thought was that I must've somehow left them in my car (even though I ALWAYS use my key to lock the doors and set the alarm rather than hit the power lock from the inside).

I went to my car, and just as I'd suspected, it was locked.  In a panic, I called a friend who lived nearby and she contacted the local police department, who came out to help me.  The responding officers maneuvered my locks until they were able to get inside the car.  They then helped me to search the car, but we still did not find my keys.  Defeated, I put my daughter in her car seat and covered her with a blanket one of the officers gave us and called someone to come and pick us up.

We ended up getting home around midnight.  Yes, 12:00am; and I had to be at work at 5:00am.  But guess what?  I have no keys.  Luckily, I have another coworker that reports at the same time.  So, I started calling him to ask him to open the door for me to get into the building while I was en route.  He never answered. Once I got the station, I started knocking on the door.  He never answered.  I called and knocked simultaneously for 40 minutes to no avail.  Then, I remembered that another coworker would soon arrive and not 2 minutes later, he did; but right behind him was a police car. 

The policeman got out of his vehicle, shined his flashlight towards me and said, "What's going on, ma'am?"  I explained that I'd lost my keys and that I was trying to get into the building, but my coworker would answer neither the phone nor the door so I'd begun to worry about him, to which the officer replied, "Oh, he's okay.  He called us because he didn't know who was!"  Seriously?  I'm outside freezing because he's afraid to look and see who's at the door?

Well, I finally got in, and my coworker was very apologetic.  I didn't hold the incident against him because I understand how rare safety seems to be these days, but I couldn't help but cry.  The pressure had finally gotten to me.  I'd lost my keys, sat in a car stranded for 2 hours, got 3 1/2 hours of sleep, and still made it to work on time, only to have the police called on me!  Once I cried about it, I felt much better.  I was able to put everything behind me and even find a smile..... Until I started preparing to go home for the day.  It was then that I brushed up against a cabinet and felt a sudden coolness.  No, not a calming in my spirit! Something was cold against my hip, which caused me to look down.  That's right, you guessed it.... I'd somehow ripped my pants, and it wasn't even at the seam! At this point, I couldn't do anything but laugh. This had turned into a comedy of horrors.

I got through the rest of that evening with no other events.  I got my spare key and went to get my car, which was under surveillance by mall security, and everything was just the way I left it. I'd taken all of my papers out of my glove compartment, just in case the person that found my keys was able to circumvent security and get into my car.  So, I put my papers back in the glove compartment and went home.

The next morning, I went to work and got in without a problem.  Things were looking up.  Then, I was threatened with a lawsuit over a story I'd covered! Someone heard something other than what I said and stated that it was implied by what I'd said.  Just then, I began to wonder what was really going on! I'd never had such a CRAZY set of events to happen right behind each other.

Then, I received the news of the Newtown massacre.....

Suddenly, none of my problems seemed so great.  I still didn't have keys to my house, office, or building, I'd destroyed one of the few pairs of jeans I own, and I'd obviously made someone angry, but none of that compares to the loss realized by parents whose children were killed by an unstable young man.  These children and school employees went to school or work that day with nothing but expectation of what the day would bring.  Some of them never made it out.  Those that did are left with indelible marks in their memories of what happened on that day.  Not even a month ago, my daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia. Upon admission to the unit, I cried and cried because I didn't want my daughter to have to be stuck with needles, and I was afraid that things could turn for the worse. However, Friday, I came to realize that as hard as that situation was for me, there are at least 20 parents that would've gladly traded places with me. I think about the gifts that were probably already purchased, the empty beds, and the unanswered questions that must be left in the minds in the survivors. 

While the current pain is very real, I hope that in time they'll realize the impact that these lives have made upon the world. Parents are holding their own children tighter, times previously taken for granted are now more appreciated, and the impact of mental illness as well as the importance of gun control and personal safety are at the forefronts of everyone's minds. Though the act cannot be justified and has touched the hearts of millions of people, it is serving an even greater purpose. Surely, this won't prevent other murders from happening, but it has definitely heightened the nation's awareness of the need for emergency preparedness plans and might ultimately decrease the number of occurrences of such events.  The loss of an innocent life is never without purpose. It's up to us to search our hearts and minds to find the adjustments that we need to make in our own personal lives as well as in our communities and places of employment to make sure that the lives taken are not forgotten and that they serve a greater good even in their passings.