Today I came home from the gym, the post office, and the grocery store, and turned on the TV. For noise. I always do this. Come on, I know some of you do too! Maybe its that I hate being alone.
I was fully expecting to get caught up with today’s news. Instead I was greeted with the televised funeral of a fallen police officer from Ogden, Utah. As much as I tried, I couldn’t pull myself away from the TV. I didn’t know the officer. I didn’t know the wife. I didn’t know the family. I didn’t know any of them. But their story. Her story. His life. His impact he had on his fellow officers, his 3 sons, his wife of 10 years, I couldn’t just turn it off. I felt an obligation, a duty, to watch. I owed it to him. I was so deeply touched, and I literally cried as I stood their, hunched over the counter, watching and listening to what those who knew him said.
This young man died in the line of duty. I’m not sure of his age, but he couldn’t have been more than low 30s. He and his beautiful wife had only been married for 10 years. Together they had 3 young boys. It sounded like he loved his job. He did it well. They showed footage of him while on duty and how he interacted with civilians like you and me. He took pride in his role as a police officer, but he treated everyone with kindness and respect.
What really broke my heart was the talk given by his wife. It struck me hard. I could hear her longing and pain in her voice. Honestly, it was beautiful.
And I could only imagine how grief-stricken I’d feel if I were in her shoes.
And I think that’s what pained me most. Just imagining how difficult it would be if I lost Greg (or any of my family really).
This time of year we are especially reminded of those who mean the most to us. It’s a time for more loving. It’s a time for forgiveness. It’s a time for get-togethers. And a time for amends.
But it’s also a time when we get so busy that oftentimes it feels like we are merely going through the motions. I know that there are times I feel numb and almost emotionless – just struggling to get through all my to-dos. Just plain being busy. And I know I take things for granted. And by things I mean relationships. My kids, My parents, my sister, my friends, and most definitely and probably most often – Greg.
We have been married now longer than not. 25 years. 2 years of on and off dating before that. There’s no one I feel more comfortable around, and I’m guessing he feels the same. But with that comfort can come the mundane every day “going through the motions” routine that not always encourages more love, more giving, and more appreciation. Sometimes comfort creates “settling” or simply “existing”. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s more of an acknowledgement than anything. Rather than “being” in the moment and taking full advantage of the blessing of having that person there, we are “getting” through the moment. You know?
I love Greg, my family, my kids, my friends more than anything in the world. But I know there’s so much more to reap out of my relationships than what I currently am. There’s so much more I could do, say, show, or give. So many more ways I could show appreciation – sincerely show my gratitude for the meaning they bring to my life. I know this. And the words this tender wife shared today in the eulogy was a good reminder of how quickly life. can. change. in. an. instant.
Today, watching this beautiful mom, wife, and daughter of God reminded me that we only have the present. We have now. What we have this very moment could be taken away the next. And while I know and I believe that there is so much more than our mortal life, it still wouldn’t change the pain I would feel if those people were taken away from me while I’m still here living.
One talk I’ve recently turned back to is “Doors of Death” by Russell M. Nelson. It’s come up a lot lately in different conversations, church talks, and even today during the funeral services. “Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life…” How sad would this life be to not experience love. To not have love. I want to love with my whole heart while I have those I care about here with me.
I know I can do better than I am.