I remember in 2003 when space shuttle Columbia exploded upon it’s re-entry back into the atmosphere. It was a such a sad event event for our nation, upon the heels of the Challenger accident. Yet I vividly remember the response from the crew member’s families surprising me. In the mist of their grief they all mentioned they knew their son/daughter/brother/sister/father/mother… would do it all over again. That exploring space was in their blood and to do anything else would have been less of life. Yes it was a life cut short, but the families had peace that their astronaut would not have had it any other way. I still remember sitting at work reading the newspaper about the crew members and their families loving reactions. I had goose bumps about the power of that kind of passion to a cause greater than yourself. My boss came up to me and I was sheepishly embarrassed about being caught reading the newspaper on the job. But he saw the story I was reading and he too was caught up in the event and we together spoke of few words of admiration for the astronaughts and their courage to live a life they loved. When he walked away he pointed to the newspaper, made a arm thrust and said “let’s do better today.”
It is funny how I still clearly recall that moment. It was a moment that Marcus Buckingham would call “a strong moment.” And to “catch & cradle it” to look for clues as to what about it is speaking to me. As this is a clue as to what life’s purpose is.
I thought of this recently with the downed helicopter in Afganistan that killed 30 troops. The news coverage profiling the service members again highlights the love for what they did. That lived for this work and were proud service members. How blessed are we as a nation to have service men and women who carry out this life passion despite the risks? For we surely have a stronger military forces with this kind of heart in our soliders.
So I was again struck when I read the words of Jan Brown, mother of Navy SEAL Kevin Houston who was killed in the helicopter crash.
“He was born to do this job. If he could do it all over again and have a choice to have it happen the way it did or work at McDonald’s and live to be 104? He’d do it all over again.”
Are you working at a “McDonald’s” job? A job that is not fulling you or your world at large? There will no doubt be memorials to our celebrated service men as there are to those Columbia crew members. As there are to many other celebrated men & women. We have many buildings, roads, parks and more named after such strong lives.
But perhaps the best way to celebrate a strong life is not a memorial. But to instead step out and try ever so small, to live as they lived. When I want to make a difference to someone in my own life, I do not do it so they can
So today… in the words of Mark Germano, “let’s do better today.”