A week or two ago as I was driving home I was perplexed to see an American flag flying at half mast. I don’t know why I do this, but I tend to segregate different parts of my life. You know. I have this life at work that doesn’t really intersect with the life I have at my apartment, which is completely separate from the life I have when I visit Girlfriend. The trip home from work is disconnected from all of them, so I saw the flag, and it puzzled me for a few moments until I realized that it had been lowered in memory of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Perhaps it was this moment of confusion that did it, but I started to wonder what made the three deaths in Boston “worth more” than the thousands of deaths that happen around the world every day. Not to belittle the tragedy of that bombing. But is it any less a tragedy when anyone loses a loved one? Should any flag ever be raised all the way to the top of the flag pole?
Death. It comes at the most inconvenient times. It was about a year ago, I think. I was driving to work. It was a beautiful morning. Most of my drive to work is freeway. The traffic usually isn’t bad. On the morning in question, I saw a few police cars stopped in the median, their lights flashing. As I passed them, I noticed a small pickup truck also sitting in the median. It was pointed in the opposite direction from the way I was going. Policemen were standing around the vehicle, and a man was seated behind the wheel, his face calm in the brief glimpse I had of him.
But it was obvious from the damage to the pickup that the vehicle had rolled. And I had no proof of it, but I had a sense that the man behind the wheel had died or was at the very least seriously injured. I drove the rest of the way to work thinking about that unknown man. Thinking about his day. How normal it was. And how quickly it had changed.
I no longer believe in God, but I still believe in Saints. I believe in Saints because I’ve met one. (Note to God: hint, hint.) Last night this Saint hung out at my house and fell asleep on my couch. Yeah, Saints do that sort of thing, I guess. You can’t begrudge a Saint a little rest every now and again. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Saint came over to my house not to sleep on my couch but to join us for Family Home Evening.
Family Home Evening is, by prophetic decree, a mandatory weekly activity for Mormons. Every Monday night is set aside as Family Home Evening. It’s a time for the family to block out the influences of the outside world and spend some time bonding together as a family. Gospel instruction, wholesome entertainment, games and other activities, songs, and ideally a really yummy dessert generally constitute the bulk of the practical application of Family Home Evening. Different families will institute this differently, but our family usually follows a fairly standard sequence of events for most Family Home Evening nights.