One of the lessons so many of us took away from the terror that was 9/11 and the sacrifice which has followed is to make every day count... every moment. I vowed not to take time for granted as I pressed my cheek to the sun-bleached silken strands of my toddler son. Nearly a decade has passed and I've done exactly that. I've let precious moments slip quietly away... stolen by busyness. I've given away moments to worry, fear and frustration. I've let words spew forth in anger... and I've left their mess behind at the close of the day like broken, jagged, scattered glass continuing to inflict pain. I've allowed my feelings to be hurt too easily... walls to go up too quickly. So much wasted. Precious time I can never get back. I can't turn back the clock.
What I can do is ask for grace...
Then there are days... days like today... when I not only have to ask for forgiveness, I must accept it. I must see the lesson I can carry forward. I must forgive myself and others, refusing to allow guilt or blame to rob more time and reopen wounds. If God can forgive me and wipe the slate clean... remove my mistakes without so much as a speck of dust left behind, why waste precious moments reminding myself of the jumbled graffiti He washed away? May I forgive those in my life that way.
May I remember core values... living them out for these precious boys to witness.
To laugh easily. To forgive quickly. To breathe deeply. To sing openly. To speak gently. To read stories more and say "Maybe later..." less. To turn away from angry words. To forget who's right and who's wrong. To lay my head down with peace in my heart. To kiss each face good night. To play chase and blow bubbles and eat cookies while they're warm. To listen to heart dreams... and marvel as they are lived out. To dance by the firelight. For our lives are so short... those in them so precious... and I don't want to lose another moment.
If those who were robbed of their lives and their loved ones... if those who have sacrificed everything that American soil might not know this kind of loss again... if the soldier we honored one final time and his tearful, beautiful bride could whisper to us this night.... they, too, would say... "Never forget." Never forget how short our time on this earth truly is. Never forget that loving those entrusted to us is more important than anything... any other thing. For you precious ones whose hands I am blessed to hold, who draw me near when I fall... and love me anyway... who love me even more... I love you back... never forget.
From my heart,