Living Life to the Fullest: Thoughts on the Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was unable to articulate what I wanted to say correctly, so bear with me if it’s a day late.  Last year, I spent September 11th in the command post of our small company-sized base in Afghanistan.  For a variety of reasons, we felt that the enemy would attempt an attack on our position and we wanted to be ready.  This year, I spent September 11th on a tropical island with my wife.  Quite the difference. Unfortunately, there are three thousand people from New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania who never got a chance to spend another September 11th doing anything, not to mention the thousands of service members and victims of subsequent terror attacks whose lives were cut short because certain groups of radical Muslims would rather commit violence against the innocent and perpetuate centuries of aggression than have their countries take their rightful place in the First World.  It’s a terrible cause to die for and it’s an even worse cause to be killed for. These tens of thousands of people all had dreams and aspirations.  I am willing to bet that all but a handful of those peoples’ dreams went unfulfilled through no fault of their own.  The question that we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are living life to its greatest potential.  I am not advocating a hedonistic, self-centered lifestyle where everyone else in existence are simply extras in the ‘Me’ show.  A life spent chasing fleeting sensations or becoming incensed and outraged over trivial matters as substitutes for true emotional fulfillment is not one that is being lived to its full potential.  Instead, focus on the important things.  Call your little brother after he scores the conference-winning three-point shot.  Cook dinner for the family instead of watching that episode of Scrubs for the sixth time.  Visit your great-aunt Mabel in the retirement home, do your job well instead of trying to get away with the bare minimum so that your time at work is not wasted, and if you want to become good at something, whether it is parenting, writing, rock climbing, or juggling, try to improve every day, even when it seems boring and there are more interesting things on TV or Youtube. Depending on your beliefs, you might feel that these innocent victims have moved on to bigger and better things in the Hereafter.  Still, their time to influence events on earth was cut tragically short, and it will be decades before their loved ones can see them again. Our time on earth is a great luxury that should not be squandered.  Stop wasting your time and get to doing whatever it is that you feel called to do while you are here.  A great many people never had or never will have the chance.  We owe it to them to live up to our full potential for as long as we might be here.

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