Every once in a while a day passes that nobody was prepared for. In London (and around the world) Wednesday was such a day. Sure, the sad truth is that terrorist attacks are occurring with a frequency which in turn makes the next one all the less surprising, but the sting of the moment remains just as palpable with each incident. News of Wednesday’s attack outside the British Parliament hit the airwaves like wildfire and remained the top story globally for roughly 24 hours. Naturally it remains the top story in Britain and surrounding areas, but almost as quickly as it surfaced on the collective US consciousness (not to mention on our collective electronic devices) the story was washed aside as the ‘more pressing’ news cycle re-took the spotlight. Evidence that our society is one with in an ever-increasing insatiable desire to consume more news more quickly, stories such as the Obamacare replacement legislation, he said/she said spy stories, and even the return of NCAA tournament games all grabbed the headlines away from London. It makes sense. Life must go on. Maybe if it were a ‘bigger’ attack with a heavier death toll (and of course if it were an attack on US soil) we would pay attention longer. But instead all of us here in the US had moved on within mere hours. Well…almost all of us.
What I noticed this week is that each of our individual adventures represents a puzzle piece which we twist, prod, and push until it fits properly into the bigger picture of our lives. But the real challenge lies in the fact that we are putting that puzzle together upside down (and we don’t get to see the image until the end). Mr. and Mrs. Kurt and Melissa Cochran left their home in Utah three weeks ago to travel around Europe in celebration of their silver wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years of marriage is no small feat, and (deservedly so) they were off to have the time of their lives abroad. Following stops in Germany, Holland, Ireland, and Scotland the couple was at their final stop in London before their planned trip home to the US. From all personal accounts their marriage was the stuff of dreams. The perfect couple merely pausing briefly to rest and recognize twenty-five years together along a path that would surely wind up passing fifty years of matrimony along the way. Each stop in their journey together a puzzle piece fit tight and snug amongst the pieces that had come before, yet unfinished with plenty of room left for more. However a tragic thing happened as they tried to fit the London piece into place…their puzzle shattered, and they never got to see the other side. Both were run down by the terrorist as they were strolling across the Thames River; Mrs. Cochran suffering serious injuries while her husband perished on the scene. It’s true that events which represent just a passing news story for many of us often mean so much more to others, and it’s a hard pill to swallow that despite our best efforts and best-laid plans sometimes our puzzle simply never ends up looking like the picture on the box.