WHAT MATTERS MOST
By Cheryl Gochnauer
Like every Tuesday morning, little kids were tossing a football around our front yard, waiting for the school bus to rumble up the street. Like every Tuesday morning, I smiled at them from behind the glass storm door, then turned toward the TV, clicked the remote, and caught the news.
The second plane hit the World Trade Center.
"Carrie, come here!" I yelled out the front door to my 3rd grader, making her miss the pass.
"Wow!" she said, watching the instant replay. Then, "Can I go play?"
Man - I wish I could go play. Instead, I'm transfixed in front of the TV, watching the rescue efforts, praying for the missing. My girls seem to be okay. Carrie did ask to sleep with me that night, but since then has been busy planning her birthday party. Her 8th-grade sister, Karen, is studying American History. "That book will have a new cover next year," I remarked. "It'll be a picture of the World Trade Center imploding."
We lost more people Tuesday than from Pearl Harbor (2200), D-Day (1500) and the Titanic (1500), combined. It's staggering.
So is the response of Americans. I'm a political news junkie, and my stomach has been tied in knots more times than I can count over the past couple of years. Through impeachment, the election and the erosion of religious rights, I've shaken my head, convinced our country was headed for moral meltdown.
Then came Tuesday.
Amazingly, America leapt up, grabbed her flags and her Bibles and ran to help. Monday, we bickered about taxes and rebates. Tuesday, we flooded New York and Washington with volunteers, money and supplies. Politicians held hands and sang "God bless America" on the Capitol steps. There was an unexpected union of church and state, and our country was better for it.
A sad silver lining, I know. But a silver lining none the less.
Each of us are now making our way through the stages of grief (defined by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). We've all been jolted; we all understand how fragile life is, and how precious.
Those who read this newsletter every week and visit the website and message boards do so because you love your families, and want to spend as much time with them as possible. Tuesday's events sharpen our resolve to live our lives in such a way that there will be no regrets. As we help others through this tragedy, let's also take this as a universal wake-up call.
Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. If your heart is calling you home, act. Pay off those bills; put away the charge cards. Bypass anything standing between you and your kids. Those who scoffed at your desire to be an at-home parent last Monday will support you today. As the phone calls from the towers reflected, family is what matters most.
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