Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Ones You Love

Recently a new friend of mine was driving home from a movie here in Las Vegas. She was with her husband and it was about 1 am on a Friday night. As they were headed home, they were struck from behind by a drunk driver who had been exceeding 120 mph. Luckily, her husband was able to control the vehicle enough to keep them from hitting the semi in the next lane, and instead they plummetted into the cement wall on the other side. The other car also hit the cement barrier. When they hit the barrier, their truck bounced off and and turned around, now facing on coming traffic. As the airbags deployed and the cab filled with dust/smoke, they could see the headlights coming towards them and were sure that if they were hit, they would lose their lives. Fortunately, the approaching lights was an off-duty officer who had been following the drunk driver and had seen the accident minutes after reported the man. When the truck came to a stop, my friend said that she immediately reached for her husband and called out... are you there, are you alright. Because the cab was filled with smoke and dust from the airbags, neither of them could see the other. He answered back, "I'm here, I'm ok".

As I sat there, jaw-dropped and stunned from her story I thought to myself, Wow. I'm so glad she's alive, well, and unharmed, and that her husband is as well. But I was also struck by the realization that in the face of tragedy and uncertainty, it's the ones you love who are most important. Her safety didn't matter. Her condition didn't concern her. But what she wanted to know, the minute she could find out, was if her husband was okay. She told how the driver got out of his car and they got out of theirs and the man kept asking them if she was alright. They were not injured, amazingly. But she did tell that man that he would have devistated their lives if he had killed one of them.

Another girl I work for told me about her fiance and their love for one another. As a Staten Island resident and someone who was working in NYC at the time of 9/11, she explained that her and her fiance realized the only thing that matters in this life are the ones you love. Now her family is close, and they are getting married, and her goals, and his, have changed. They spend time with one another, forgetting the petty things and working through the difficult problems with a commitment to making it work.

If anyone watched the news and the following broadcasts after Hurricane Katrina or the Tsunami, they could easily see the one thing on everyone's minds. These people had lost all their possessions, all their money, their pictures, their homes and some didn't even have shoes on their feet or food in the stomach. But when they were given a chance to ask for anything, they were asking for their families.

As I think about the people in my life and the ones I love and have loved through the years,
I realize they are the first people I would be concerned with in a tragedy. I think we take our loved ones for granted. All too often we treat strangers with more kindness and courtesy than we do our loved ones because we know that our loved ones will still be there in the morning. Consider today, what if they weren't. Cherish the ones you love and keep them close. Reach out for them when they are right beside you and when you can see them. Don't wait until you aren't sure if they are there or not.

On a more serious note than usual, just takin' a minute to say...

I LOVE YOU to the important people in my life.

Love, Jessie


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