In one heart-wrenching moment, something happened this week that illuminated the darkness of division and political opposition. After receiving permission from Carryn Owens, widow of a fallen Navy Seal, the President of the United States took a moment to honor her husband Ryan Owens during the Congressional Joint Session. As Carryn stood to her feet, the sound of thunderous applause echoed through the Congressional hall. Tears stained her face as the whole world watched. This Navy widow raised her head to the sky, whispering words of love to her fallen husband. "I love you baby" she mouthed, struggling to breathe and overwhelmed with emotion. The standing ovation lasted for two and half minutes, led by the President himself.
Right here in my living room, I joined in honoring this hero, showing support for his widow and three children. Tears found their way down my cheeks also. The unity of compassion, both there in that government arena, in living rooms all over the country and possibly the world, was a vivid reminder that we truly are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. Some of us are keenly aware and feel the magnitude of that fact. Sadly though, others still hide in dark corners afraid of the light. They wallow in pettiness, selfishness, apathy, fear and sometimes even hatred refusing to understand that "no man is an island," and our actions in this world and behavior at any given moment doesn't just affect us, but those with whom our path crosses each day. It was never more evident to me than on this night of the Congressional Joint Session. There was the expected political divide when it came to policies and party, but once the light of sacrifice, honor and love illuminated the room, it also shed light on those who refused to allow their lives to become bigger than their prejudice, agenda or personal emotions. I was stunned to see that certain senators and congressmen refused to stand, clap and honor the memory of this hero and offer strength and support for his lovely widow. The following day, even more spoke out in disrespect of Carryn Owens. Why? How could anyone dishonor her or her husband's memory? The answer is that hatred, selfishness, greed and thirst for power will take you further than you intend to go.
"Something bigger...." That thought is quite humbling. When we realize how closely we all are connected and how each life touches another life in some way (positively or negatively), it truly puts so many things in life in perspective. We all have a choice. We can step outside of ourselves and our "stuff," to truly allow our words, actions, decisions, attitudes and more benefit those around us; or we can stay isolated in our own desires, emotions, insecurities and difficulties to where we don't consider anyone or anything but ourselves. The irony of that is, we are not isolating those around us at all. Everything we say and do will still affect them one way or the other. Watching that fringe group of obstructionists during such a monumental moment the other night, brought this truth home in a most profound way. That one moment in time where they could not step outside of themselves to honor the most unselfish of all, was quite telling.
So what about you and I? Most of us are not on a big stage with a huge platform to speak from. Most of us live ordinary lives with a close knit group of people. That still does not diminish the fact that our lives each day are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. How we treat our spouses, our children, our friends, our neighbors or the stranger in line at the supermarket matters. One word fitly spoken can change a moment, a day or a life. What we do with the difficulties we face or the decisions we must make matters. We can retreat into ourselves or we can embrace the honor of blessing someone else in some way each day. You matter, you can make a difference. You do make a difference in one way or the other. That difference is a matter of choice. You are a part of something bigger.