Friday, September 11, 2009

Living My Whole Life

Please don't spend your whole life waiting for your whole life...

The lyrics to this song are on a new CD that we got this week. I was listening to it yesterday, and the song struck me so much that I put the CD back to this song this morning. This song reminds me of today, of September 11.

I am sure you will read a lot of blogs and stories today remembering what happened that day. Those moments, those hours, those days... they will never be forgotten, even if time allows the vividness of them to fade. I would like to think that we learned something that day. Something as a nation, something as a people, something as an individual.

I remember that day, not as a full story, but as freeze-frame moments.
~Me in my car on the way to work calling my roommate because I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. At this time, we still thought it a freak accident
~The first realization that this was an intentional attack
~The second plane
~The Pentagon
~Being at work, but nobody was doing any work, we were gathered around the radio listening for updates.
~The silence of the airport... I worked about 5 miles from the DFW airport in Dallas, and the lack of noise is something I will never forget.

I will never forget the people that lost their lives that day. The ones that were gone in an instant, and the ones that died trying to save others. But for me, remembering this day is about more than just remembering the ones that are gone. It is about a lesson I learned that day.

You see, more than any other memory I have of 9-11-01, the thing that sticks out is the fear. The complete and overwhelming fear. The knowledge that our country was not as invincible as I had always perceived. The knowledge that we were vulnerable. More than that, the knowledge that we could be next. Mixed in with every moment of mourning the people that died that day was the realization that it could have been me. It could have been us. It could BE us.

I was so scared that day. I didn't want it to be me. I didn't want our lives to change, although they already had. I wanted that sense of carelessness and recklessness that I used to have. That innate knowledge that nothing REALLY bad was going to happen. That life could be dealt with. That problems could be handled. I realized that I had so much life that I still wanted to live.

The lesson I learned that day was the lyrics of the song I started with... please don't spend your whole life waiting for your whole life. It was the knowledge that life is ever so precious, and it doesn't go on forever. It was the realization that we don't know how much time we have left, so enjoy life. LIVE life.

Mike and I make an effort to enjoy our lives. Sure, there are things we plan for, things we want in the future. We want to own our own home, we want to adopt a child, etc. But the key is... don't miss what is here now in an effort to plan for what is down the road. Don't spend your whole life waiting for your whole life, and thereby missing the life that you have each day.

Life is precious, my friends. Every moment, every day, every smile from your husband, every greeting from a friend.

There are many memorials for those that were lost on that day. There will be many speeches spoken, many essays written, many stories told in far more eloquent words that I can come up with. Those words are important, those memories are important. But I also think that the people that died that day would think it the greatest honor of all if we allowed their deaths to make our lives more precious. Don't forget them, but don't stay locked in a time warp where all we do is look back on that day and fear.

Honor their memory by not letting the bad guys win. Honor their memory by holding your loved ones close. Honor their memory by being constantly aware of how very precious life is. Honor their memory by living...

by living your WHOLE life.

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