One of the most powerful speeches I have ever seen was given by Ric Elias, a man who sat in the front row of the plane that crashed into the Hudson River in 2009. His speech is titled “3 things I learned while my plane crashed.” In less than 6 minutes, Ric summarizes what takes many people decades to learn and practice: the importance of living without negativity and being a good parent. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Ric tells the audience that he hasn’t had a fight with his wife in two years, not one! Why? Because when you realize how short life can be, why waste precious time on petty issues. And they are all petty.
Two weeks ago the boyfriend of a friend of mine unexpectedly passed away. At just 23 years old, his life was over, and she feels the same about hers now, too. I watch her try to get through the workday with tears streaming down her face, a constant reminder that nobody is promised a tomorrow. “That could be me” I think to myself. I could be the one sobbing in the corner, pleading with God, begging for one more day with my love. I could be the one praying that this is a nightmare I just cant wake up from. Instead, I get to go home and see my fiancé’s face, feel his touch, and laugh at his jokes. I get to experience his unconditional love and hear his voice one more day. What my friend would give for one more day.
Two days ago my sister’s first boyfriend and close friend was murdered in his hometown. What his family, friends, and loved ones would give for one more day.
So here is my challenge to myself and to you. Try treating your husband, wife, parents, siblings, coworkers, everyone important in your life like there is no tomorrow. I know there are hundreds of cheesy quotes about “love like there is no tomorrow”, but really try and picture it. Envision your life without a specific person and ask yourself “is the way I am treating him or her today worth it?” Its a simple question with no room for “buts” or “this situation is different.”
Your husband left the lunch meat out over night again, is it the end of the world? No, not even close. All that matters is that he is alive. After all, you have been given the most precious gift of all: time. Use it wisely and thank God for it.
Let Ric Elias’ short speech serve as a guide for your life. Thankfully you and I didn’t have to be the ones sitting in the front row as our plane crashed into the Hudson, but there is no reason we cannot learn from the experience just as much as Ric did.
I am so thankful for one more day with my loved ones on this beautiful earth.