This morning I watched the KC fire chief give a press conference covering last night's death of two brave firemen and as I watched him struggle through the names, as he shared the brief, yet very human, details..."husband, son, father of four small girls, leaving behind many friends and family"...I found myself thinking of so much. Those men risked their lives with every shift yet I'm guessing they never imagined last night would truly be the end. Their families sent them to work like any other day, yet it would be one unlike any other for all of them. Lives forever changed. And I have no doubt time stood still as it does in those unimaginable moments.
In my garage stands a piece of furniture I have always loved, a secretary that stood in the corner of my Gran and Pop-Pop's living room my entire life. It belonged to her Aunt Anna...it even says "Personal Property of Anna Hussey, 1951" on the back...and then was passed on to Gran. She filled it with family treasures: high school diplomas, family photos, the readers she and her twin sister learned to read with, heirloom china and my dad's letters from his two tours in Vietnam. I used to love looking through its drawers; pouring over artifacts that told me stories more interesting to me than any book or movie, digging through letters that depicted a young man who left for war talking mostly of his '67 Mustang before the horrors of a world I can't even imagine changed him. I knew she placed important things in that cabinet, and as I ran my hands over its curves and inhaled the musty smell of my Pop-Pop's pipe smoke, I felt her hands there knowing she had touched those same curves, opened those very same drawers...and I cried because after all this time I still missed her beyond measure.
I know part of why I miss her so is because I wish I had said and done more those last few years. I regret little, but not making...time...thinking I was too busy when I knew she wasn't going to live forever...that...that I regret. We make time for things and people who ultimately do not matter. We waste opportunities and give time we do not have to causes we don't really care about. And then we look back with regret and say we won't let that happen again... We vow to say what we mean. We promise to show those who matter how important they are to us. We say we won't commit to more than we can handle and we swear we won't sacrifice precious...time...with those we love most for those who matter least. But we always do. Time passes and we fall back into our old ways. Because we are human and we always think there will be more...time.
I could repeat all the cliches, restate the cheesy lines but, in my opinion, all that matters is this...surround yourself with people you love, live with intention, find people who support your purpose, live a life you're proud of, don't wait to say something you feel now, give more than you think you should, try not to be bitter, believe in magical moments, have faith, extend more grace than necessary, look for the good in everyone, judge gently, offer a hand when needed, remember that grudges only hurt you, silence speaks louder than many words, egos are fragile, we all long to be loved as we are, and "what if" is only a good thing if the opportunity hasn't already passed. We only get one shot at this. No matter the number of years, the moments can only be measured by the amount of life lived within them.