Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriot Day

As I sit here in the quiet of the night, on the eve of Patriot Day...I have found myself thinking about why we have this day of remembrance in our country.
My grandma often talked about "the war".  She talked about how frightening sending her brothers and loved ones, including my grandpa, off to the armed forces.  She recalled the insecurity of the world, of our nation.
I felt that way about September 11th.
I will never, ever forget that day.
I was a 20 year old girl, in the midst of planning and preparing for my wedding day.  I woke up with a ring on my finger and the world at my fingertips.  Then...suddenly, that joy and excitement was replaced with fear.  My brother came and told me that I needed to look at the television...and I saw it.  I don't remember much else about what was being reported other than the facts.  I just remember sheer terror.  And anger.  So much anger and fear that it threatened to erupt at any minute. Until I stopped listening and started watching the people on the screen.  The firemen, the police, the volunteers....the families.  And in an instant, the anger was replaced by a deep sorrow, one that I can still feel every time I think about it.
And now, 12 years later, it still feels fresh and real.
Especially when I compare myself to those souls that were lost that day.
Right about now, they were going to bed.  Maybe they were happy.  Maybe stressed out, maybe looking forward to the next day or the weekend or an upcoming event.
Did they know?  Did they feel what was coming?  Did they feel a sense of impending tragedy?
Did they tell their family they loved them that night? Did they spend a few extra minutes with their children or their loved ones or their pets or their friends?  Did they have everything in order...just in case?
Or, did they do what we're all doing right now?  Waiting for some laundry, scratching the cat, washing dishes, surfing the internet, paying a bill, thinking about work, trying to decide what to wear, watching a movie and "glorifying the busy" of life?
Had they know it was their last evening at home with their loved ones...would they have changed their schedule or activities?
Would I?
Every year, on this day, I vow to be kind.  I vow to make my world better.  I vow to stop being so damn busy all the time.
So, its time for that again.
Do I really need to watch reality television or is there something better I can do with my time?
Can I put down my phone for an hour or two and really listen and talk with my husband?
Can I slow down for a minute and pay attention to those around me?
Can I stop rushing from place to place and instead meander through and stop to figuratively smell the roses?
Do I really need to yell at the person in the car in front of me?
Can I spend more time teaching and being an example of the word of God?
Can I be a better Christian today?
Did I kiss my husband goodnight?
Did I tell him I loved him?
Did I make sure he knew that through my actions as well as my words?
Did I tell my family that I loved them?  Do they know?
Have I mended relationships and offered forgiveness?
Can I be more kind and accepting and gentle?
You bet I can.  And today, I'm going to try a little bit harder.
I think it's still best summed up in the song written by Alan Jackson.
It's still relevant today.
Have a listen.
And I mean really listen.
And make a change.

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