Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
James 4: 13-14 (NLT)
The best that I can remember it was about 9:00 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when Lynda reached me on my cell phone. I was heading to the church. Slowly her words began to tumble out, and numb my awareness of anything else around me.
“A plane has crashed into one of the Towers of the World Trade Center…”
She called because she wanted me to know; reports weren’t yet sure whether it was accidental or intentional. We hurt and prayed together, and hung up. We would wait for further reports when they became available.
Minutes later she called again, and trembled with the words—
“…A second plane has just hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center…”
It was a long day, and for some time after the events of that day, I found myself having difficulty remembering times before Tuesday, September 11.
Even though I had no reason to believe they were in trouble, I remember calling our children that day. Lynda and I both needed to hear their voices, to reconnect with them that day. I’m sure many of you felt the same way.
I spoke with my son, Nathan, who shared with me that when he had come home that evening, he had asked Hannah, our elder Granddaughter, just 2 and ½ years old at the time—“Hannah, how are you?
She answered—”I Good, Daddy.”
As he told me, he began to cry, and I did too. It was a defining moment for us. We cried because she was safe, but also for all those innocent people who weren’t, who had died that morning in acts of horrendous cruelty. We cried for their families and loved ones who were left empty and will feel the pain of their loss forever.
Just minutes before 8:46 am on that morning of September 11, 2001—there were people in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, drinking coffee, preparing for a meeting later that day, talking and laughing with their fellow workers, calling to have flowers delivered for a birthday, and for a restaurant reservation that night for their anniversary. Some were just arriving at their office high atop that North Tower, hanging their coats up and getting organized for the day.
And then the unbelievable—even to this day—occurred. And their lives and those of their families, and other loved ones, were forever changed.
In an instant, in those Towers, they realized that they may be in their last moments of this life on earth. And so they began to make phone calls.
But you know, they didn’t call their stockbrokers to check on their portfolios or to make one more stock trade. They didn’t call their banker or attorney.
They didn’t put in a call to the golf pro at their club for a tee time. Or call to set an appointment for a haircut.
They called to talk to their bride or husband.
They said things like—“I don’t know what just happened, but it’s not good.” “I don’t know what will happen here—but I want you to know that you’re the best—and I love you.” “Hug and kiss the kids for me—tell them I love them.”
A woman called her husband. “I’m concerned I may not see you again, and I’m afraid. I love you.”
A father called his son—“I’m not sure what’s going on, son, but I wanted to tell you that I’m proud of you and I love you. Take care of your Mother.” And another to a man’s daughter—“I Just wanted to make sure I told you one more time how beautiful you are, and how much I love you.”
Our time here is limited. It’s not endless. And as immortal and invincible as we feel at times, we are not promised the next minute. At 8:45 am on September 11, on the 100 floor of the North Tower, people were pouring a cup of coffee, talking and setting appointments.
One minute later—and life as they had known it was forever changed. Just what James reminds us of, in the scripture verse above—
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
We work, we play, we have all sorts of activities and other moments we enjoy. But we also occupy roles which no one else can occupy.
Each one of us stands on special platforms of influence and opportunity to make a difference, that God has given us, which when used as He intended will change our lives and the lives of others around us for the better, and in the process, we just may change the world. And none are more important than the sacred platforms, the sacred roles—as a husband, bride, parent or grandparent—which no one else can occupy.
I wonder if we understand that as we plan our busy schedules with those oh-so-important social agendas and business opportunities. I’m almost positive that the folks who drank their last cup of coffee that morning of September 11, 2001, did not think that their trip into downtown Manhattan that morning, would be their last.
The results of a study surveying thousands, found that at the end of your lives your greatest regrets won’t be “things you did but wish you hadn’t.” We’ll all have those regrets, things we’re sorry we did—but that’s what God’s grace and forgiveness is for. And forgiveness for us to share with others.
Instead, the study showed that your greatest regrets will be the “things you didn’t do but wish you had.” The important moments, the possibilities, the people we missed spending time with and the dreams we never acted upon, which are now forever regrets—forever missed moments. Forever gone.
What is it you need to change today—to live the life you were meant to live with the important people God gave you? Are you driving into the office right now, as usual? Are you assured that you’ll drive there tomorrow or thirty days from now? What do you need to change for the better? Who is it you need to call to encourage or tell that you love, that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Have you missed any of our son or daughter’s recent school activities? When was the last time you took your bride on a date?
We live busy lives. And we can usually justify our busyness with some reason or another which sounds good—we’re really not doing anything wrong—in the context of worldly values.
But we can live a life where we may do nothing wrong—but still do nothing right.
If you knew you had thirty days to live—what would you do? And we all might do well to remember today, that we’re not promised another cup of coffee.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.