In response to a previous posting (Thoughts While Shoveling Snow) and a few shared emails, Janis Hendrickson ('65) sent this along, edited in part.
Your preceding emails called out to me – here’s my response…for whatever it’s worth.
Why are some spared, others not? That question perplexes us who have survived. Is it the luck of the draw, Divine intervention, common sense, or possibly a strong resistance to open the door if the Grim Reaper has attempted to get in?
I’d venture to say that as children, and certainly as teenagers, any of us could have easily succumbed from dangerous circumstances that required “thinking.” It has been proven in medical studies that teenagers’ brains do not have the ability to know good from bad judgment, many times. How many of us actually weighed the dangers before proceeding in something exciting, but perilous? I know I certainly didn’t…many times over. Three members of our class of '65 were driving a white Buick at age 17 on Highway 105 East of Northwood, all 3 in the front seat, when the driver put the pedal to the metal to test out the power of the car. One rider yelled over the roar of the engine ”105 is the highway number, NOT the speed limit!” Case in point, a living testimonial of the above mentioned medical study.
Another impulsive, non-thinking decision in my senior year could have easily caused an early demise. Two classmates were riding in a car when a 3rd somehow entered the scene and subsequently drove the car a distance down the frozen Shellrock River south of the ball park. Was there any discussion that perhaps the ice wouldn’t hold us? Did they think or reason out the situation? Not a thought…nada…of any potential hidden danger. The outcome could have been so different. Why were they lucky, when others who pulled the same prank elsewhere were not so fortunate?
It does give one pause to wonder why we’re here, and others have gone on to meet their maker ahead of us.
Ultimately we not in control of our own destiny, as hard as it is to own that thought. There is a reason and purpose for everything and it is not for us to understand all the whys and what-ifs in life.
I guess we need these ponderings, not to ask why we’re still here and others aren’t, but to be thankful that we are and remember, in reverence, the ones who preceded us to the Great Beyond! Pondering is a good thing – it quiets the soul and lets us come to terms with our own mortality.