What shall we do about what has happened? That is the proverbial question asked throughout the ages as mankind has faced tragedy after tragedy.
How will the terrorist attacks on America change the way we think and live? Will we ever be secure again? Will we catch and punish those responsible for the killing and destruction?
Print and broadcast media have explored these questions incessantly over the past two weeks. The questions will take years to answer. Americans are struggling with the reality that our world is not as safe as we thought it was. We have learned in a horrible way that there are groups in the world who hate us so much that they will go to any extremes to injure our country.
Most of the media reporting has addressed American society as a whole. How is New York faring? What about the families of those who were killed in the attack? Is our government doing enough to protect us and should they have anticipated the attack?
While we ponder this epic event in our history, I think it is a good time to look inside ourselves to find what this tragedy means to us personally.
When it all comes down, relationships with other people are the most important thing in the world. Buildings tumble, financial markets are disrupted, and travelers are inconvenienced. But the overriding concern in America is for the safety of family, friends and fellow Americans. Petty differences of political philosophy, race and geographic sectionalism disappear when our country is threatened. America pulls together.
Why? What makes us American? It is a fact that we have the most powerful economy in the world. However, I think it is our freedom that make us a homogeneous group. God made man with freedom of choice. Thus, it is obviously part of His master plan that we have the freedom to choose how we will live our lives. America offers its citizens more freedom than any other place on earth. We are free to seek God’s will or not. We may pursue our own selfish agenda or make our choices with view to the good of others. It is entirely up to us.
Many of us don’t always do what we know we should do. However, we know that we can always make amends and get on the straight and narrow. The knowledge that we have choices and that government will not interfere with our purposes unless we violate the laws of our society make us unique.
This time of national trauma can provide us a wake-up call to closely examine how we are living our lives. What if the next attack should claim our lives? Would we be satisfied with the life we have lived? What are we putting off that we really should do? Make amends with an estranged friend or loved one? Take time to encourage someone whose actions don’t seem to deserve our attention? Get on our knees and thank God for all the blessings we have enjoyed? Each of us must answer these questions for himself.
Some years ago, I spent considerable time analyzing and discovering my personal values. Though these are deeply personal, I would like to share them in hopes they might be useful to someone else at this time of uncertainty.
1. Truth is not relative — that which is not true is false.
2. Freedom of choice creates the burden of self-discipline.
3. That we believe in God should not surprise those around us.
4. Relationships are the most important aspects of life.
5. The foundation of wisdom is the realization that our control is limited to our behavior.
6. Fulfillment in life comes with discovering our passions and pursuing them with vigor.
7. Developing a spiritual foundation is not a group activity.
8. Accepting that God loves us just as we are and trusting that we are what we are supposed to be creates self-esteem.
9. Suffering and disappointment are part of life.
10. We are created to be active — physically, mentally and emotionally.
As simple as these 10 axioms are, they were learned by a lot of living. I hope they provide some food for thought and might be beneficial to someone else searching for meaning in life.
Thought for the Moment — The die is cast. I have crossed the Rubicon.
— Julius Caesar
Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.