An ear piercing scream, earth-shattering news, and the sequence of beeps on TV. These sounds are startling, frightening, and make time stop. There seems to be complete silence for a minute afterward until fear takes over.

It can be a non-tragic issue like a continuous crying child who cannot sleep due to congestion and illness. Perhaps a storm is sweeping through the area, warning of damaging winds and power outages. It could be medically-related lousy news.
The common denominator is the shift in priorities we experience at the onset of the beep, crash, or scream. Suddenly, my housecleaning, clothes sorting, and carpet shampooing do not matter. The things that matter are my sick baby, getting everyone safely to the basement, researching doctors and treatments.

Have things occurred that moved your heart? It seems that our needs do not matter much in the light of these moments. I imagine most people who’ve lived through national or personal tragedies take pause. When 9/11 happened, my plans disappeared. My heart wanted my family to know I loved them. I tried to help. When my daughter grew ill the other day and clung to me, nothing else mattered.

These moments gets us out of our heads, to wake up and “smell the coffee.” I question who I can serve and how can I help. While we would never ask for hardships to happen, our loyalties and priorities become apparent when rough things fall on our laps. Could tangibly tricky situations occur to remind us to put down the routine nuances and breathe in those things we love the most? Why not focus on those things in our everyday lives and not wait for a tragedy to strike? How do your feelings shift when these episodes occur?

When we are in our last days, what beautiful memories will we reflect on? I can guarantee we won’t be thinking that our house was clean. Will we think about our job? Probably not. Will we think about the bad things? Chances are we will think about how much we want our loved ones to know we love them. We will regret holding grudges. We will wish we’d gone out to dinner that night instead of staying in because we didn’t have the energy.

Tim McGraw’s beautiful song, “Live Like You Were Dying” speaks to all these things. Before his dad passed away, he went sky diving and Rocky Mountain climbing. He gave forgiveness he’d been denying. He watched an eagle as it was flying-the simplest thing brought joy to his heart.

I admit I like a clean house. Actually, I love to clean. I find it therapeutic. However, with two young children, it isn’t easy to keep things in order. If I busy myself around the house, I miss the precious time with my babies. When they’re off to bed, I feel sad. I wish I’d spent that time with them instead of cleaning. Obviously don’t neglect your home, but my advice, whether you want it or take it is entirely up to you, but I’d recommend living life while it’s yours to live.


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