If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook... or are my real life friend (does anyone even have those anymore ;-)), you probably know that my brother had an unfortunate accident with an IED yesterday while serving in Afghanistan as a Marine.
When I got the news, I was somewhat upset, both because well, he's my brother and he's hurt and because we have a somewhat strained relationship and I really don't know how to reach out to him to let him know that I am thinking about him. In the middle of sorting through these complicated feelings, I posted a general note to the world about my displeasure with it. I mean, I know I'm supposed to be SO GRATEFUL for all these life lessons, but FUCK. I'm over the lessons. Hear me world? And then I got called out for not feeling so blessed that my brother is alive.
Let me stop and say it here. I am glad my brother is alive. So very glad.
But blessed? No. Blessed would be not getting your fingers blown off by an IED, actually. I think this whole thing sucks. His foot is damaged, and he lost at least one of his fingers. (I have complicated religious feelings, so blessed actually isn't a word I use much. Let's just replace blessed with "great.")
I started thinking about this whole "great" concept. Actually, I was on the phone ranting. And I was thinking about the fire and how there were so many people who didn't understand the grief and looked at me like a twenty-headed monster who couldn't possibly see how wonderful it was to have my house burn down because... we were alive.
Ok. Seriously people, if there isn't SOME spectrum between dead and "great" then we need to seriously reevaluate our standards. I can't possibly be the only person who thinks that being "great" (or blessed) is more than just being alive. I know I've been criticized on this blog even for not being the shiny ray of sunshine that sees all positive. I guess I just expect more. I expect that when my house burns down I can cry and say, "Hey, I really wish my house hadn't burned down, and I think it really fucking sucks and I'm not feeling all that blessed actually. Even if we all survived." I'm only allowed to be sad or upset if someone dies? Man, that's harsh.
And my brother? He's lucky that it wasn't worse, sure. But I imagine that there will be a time when he misses that little finger and thinks, "Hey, I really wish my hand hadn't gotten blown up. And man, I kind of actually want that finger back now." Is he supposed to suppress that feeling and just say he's so very blessed?
If you're the kind of person who is always optimistic and can find the good behind every black cloud, good for you. Me? I kind of like to set my expectations a little higher and think that there must be something between dead and great. Like maybe "This sucks," even just a little.