Time for What Matters
As many of you know, I live and work in Reno, Nevada. I'm not a huge fan of casinos or the gaming lifestyle, but it's a wonderful community with a surprising amount of arts and culture, not to mention mountains, lakes, broad expanses of azure sky, and some great special events. One of those events, the Reno Air Races, exploded in tragedy this past Friday.
I wasn't at the Air Races this year, although I've certainly attended many times in the past. It's an amazing experience, always particularly enjoyable for me because my dad flew P-51s in World War II. He used to love to listen to the roar of the engines as the planes passed the grandstands, where it was possible for spectators to feel the vibration and speed on every lap. This year, as always, thousands of people flocked to the Stead airport north of Reno to watch the races and the aerobatics. They went expecting a good time, to be with family and friends, and to watch talented pilots doing something they love. For at least 10 people, however, life and good times came to an abrupt end on Friday afternoon.
I witnessed the crash of two AT-6 trainers at the air races many years ago. One of the pilots in that crash was killed, and I was stunned and horrified at having witnessed his death--and shocked at how suddenly life can end. I had many of these same thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. On that day, 3,000 people went off to work fully expecting to arrive home as usual later that day. Like the 10 lost lives at the Reno Air Races, they may have left people they loved with a hug and a smile, or with annoyance and complaints. They may have told a child, "What do you mean, you didn't get your homework done?" They may have snapped at a spouse over dirty laundry or money unwisely spent. They undoubtedly believed they'd have another hour, another day to make things right. But they didn't.
There are no words, now or ever, that will ease the pain of losing a loved one so needlessly and unexpectedly. But here's something to think about. Most of assume we have today, and tomorrow, and next week; we make plans for next month and next year. We all know life can change suddenly but we seldom think it will change for us. What would you do differently if you knew that this moment was all you had in which to make a difference? If you knew you would never see your teenager or your toddler, your partner or your friend again, what things would you want to say? What do you need the people you love to know?
The time for saying the things that matter, for giving a hug, for offering forgiveness, and for holding onto your temper isn't later on or tomorrow: it's right now. If you have a child, find him and hug him. If you have a partner or a dear friend, take time to be sure she knows how you feel. If you have messes to clean up, do so now. It's certainly not a new concept but it seems painfully urgent right now: none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. The time for the things that really matter is right now.
| Posted by cheryl | Monday, September 19, 2011|