...There are lots of things in this world where you can say "if only..." and state your regret. Sometimes you state those "if only"s after someone else in this life is gone.
This weighs on my mind now not because it's close to the end of another year gone by, but because of some events that have happened on the West Coast that have hit close to home.
The news worldwide has told the miraculous and tragic story of James Kim and his family. The Kim family had taken a trip over the Thanksgiving holiday to the Pacific Northwest and turned up missing. The first time I heard about it I was driving to work and it was one of those off the cuff sorts of statements - someone's missing, they missed their appointments after a holiday. I figured it for someone just taking an extra day out somewhere, or having some slow going through an unfamiliar area.
I didn't realize how right I was about that second thought.
The Kim family took a wrong turn on a map, went down a road that's normally blocked by a gate at this time of year (that vandals broke the lock off), and ended up stuck with no phone reception and no help in near sight. They spent days in their car, running the heater, eating the last of their food, and probably praying for rescue. James Kim set out on foot to find help. Two days later his wife and children were found, and after another 5 days James was found dead.
If only he'd stayed with the car.
If only the vandals hadn't cut the lock on the fence that would have prevented them from going down that road.
If only they'd not taken that wrong turn.
I can't imagine what Kati Kim is thinking, but I'll bet that an 'If Only' was among them. We can't live our lives without the If Onlys, but we cannot live our lives by the If Onlys either. Yes, that would mean you're living a life of regrets, and that's not the way to live.
Right now there are 3 climbers stuck on Mount Hood (what is it about Oregon and lost people this year?) that have been gone for a week. One apparently was injured and in a snow cave, and the other two set out for help. None have been spotted or heard from, other than a single short cell phone call from the man in the snow cave. Rescuers are hopeful because they've picked up the signal from one cell phone...
That could mean anything. It could mean the phone was just stuck somewhere in the snow, or dropped off the side of the mountain. It could mean that someone is dying next to it. It could mean anything. I hope that the weather lets up and allows the rescuers to do just that - rescue someone. As each day passes, so does hope, and then the If Onlys start....
If only they had taken more gear.
If only the weather wasn't so bad.
If only they had started earlier in the day.
I really hope that their families aren't met with the same tragedy that the Kim family is dealing with now. I want the search teams to find all three of them. I want to hear that they're alive and not biological ice cubes. I want a Christmas miracle for these climbers....