It's moments like the Aurora shooting on Friday morning that remind us just how fragile life is. We don't appreciate the days we have until a tragedy like this happens. It causes us to stop, pause, reflect and say: "gosh, that could have been me!"
Jessica Ghawi (24 year old rookie sports journalist) was one of the victims last week. Just weeks before she was at a mall during a shooting in Canada. She wrote about the experience on her blog. Here is a portion of what she shared:
"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday...I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
"I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given."
She lived about six more weeks after writing this and then her life tragically ended Friday morning. She had it right. She was on to something. Gratitude. Thankfulness. Enjoy the small things. Leave nothing to chance. Be present. Be in the moment. Live fully. Live in gratitude for each day.
It reminds me of a song written in honor of Cassie Bernall, a Columbine High School student martyred for her faith in Jesus Christ back in 1999. The song goes:
It was a test we could all hope to pass
But none of us would want to take.
Faced with the choice to deny God to live,
For her, there was one choice to make.
This was her time. this was her dance.
She lived every moment; left nothing to chance.
She swam in the sea; drank of the deep;
Embraced the mystery of all she could be.
This was her time...
(Michael W. Smith, This Is Your Time)
Every breath is a gift. Every day is a gift. Those who have stared death in the face know this better than most of us. Those who have beaten cancer. Fought on the front lines. Recovered from a horrific accident. Watched a loved one teeter on the brink of death.
And we too get a taste of death through tragedy like Friday's events or 9/11, but we will soon forget. We will go back into normal, everyday routines, counting down the days till vacation, living for the weekends, complaining about an annoying coworker...petty, meaningless things.
Grasp this moment. Take a hold of it. Breathe deep and remember, you only have one life. Make the most of it. Leave nothing to chance. Ask yourself those hard, tough questions--those that you're afraid to ask yourself...what's the meaning of life? where did we come from? where am I going when I walk off this planet?