Amazing Grace: Tragedy inspires new appreciation for life’s blessings

Jansen Hess, Sports Editor

One of my good family friends lost their little angel, Grace Shaw, in an accident at the Lake of the Ozarks on Aug. 26. She was only 6 years old, and, although she faced many of her own challenges, she brought a smile to everyone’s face.
When she was gone, our neighborhood community was devastated.
Everyone knew her.
Everyone loved her.
Our neighborhood hosted a candlelight vigil in her honor. Three hundred people filled the blocked-off street and held up their candles, praying for the family and singing “Amazing Grace.”
Grace wouldn’t have wanted her funeral to go any other way — all of her family and friends were present. We sang the Barney song, her absolute favorite. We decorated her casket with princess stickers. She was dressed as Snow White — her favorite princess.
Soon, a foundation was started in her honor — the Grace Elizabeth Shaw Foundation.
As part of a fundraiser, a couple of moms made purple and silver glitter ornaments with Grace’s logo attached — a purple “g” with a silver crown on top, pink angel wings and the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” hanging down.
They quickly ran out of purple glitter and sent me to Michael’s Craft Store with a $20 bill to get some more. When I returned, Grace’s mother Kim Shaw was asking the other moms if the ornament looked OK if the glitter wasn’t exactly perfect.
Of course the moms said yes.
Kim replied saying, “Even if it’s not perfect, I’ve learned not to worry about the little things.”
This got me thinking.
If she can be so optimistic about such a tragic event, why do the majority of us let the tiniest things get under our skin?
We need to stop counting our problems and start counting our blessings.
Granted, no one’s life is perfect, but that doesn’t mean focusing on the positives in life is impossible.
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
Don’t worry about the little things and just enjoy life.
It’s hard sometimes, I know. But happiness is a state of mind.
Let the little things go and remember, none of the these upsetting things will matter two years from now.
Getting a B on your report card isn’t going to stop you from getting into college.
Having a fight with your best friend isn’t going to make you mortal enemies.
Someone talking behind your back doesn’t mean they hate you.
Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t the end of the world.
I know I don’t speak for everyone when I say this, but we live in one of the richest and safest counties in the nation. What could possibly be so bad about that?
We have so many things to be grateful for — so many little things we take for granted.
We go to a nationally ranked school, have roofs over our heads and have people who love us.
We have opportunities some people can’t even fathom.
Thirsty? Just hop in your car and run to QuikTrip or Sonic and get whatever soft drink your little heart desires.
Oh, you’re hungry? Mom will have your favorite dinner ready in an hour.
Cold? No worries, just turn up the heat or flip the switch on the wall and ignite a nice, cozy fire.
Not doing so great in a class? Teachers will spend hours upon hours helping until the concept is understood.
We seldom stop to think about how truly blessed we really are.
Even though Grace is no longer with us, I was blessed to have known such an inspirational little girl. She’s taught me so many things, but mostly to fight hard, never quit and to live life with no regrets.