Obama’s thoughts on a nation’s loss

Listening to President Obama on Wednesday, I was especially moved by several of his comments about the tragedy in Arizona, those we lost, and those who remain.

When he stated that “when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try and pose some order on the chaos and make sense out of that which seems senseless.” I think that is true of any loss, not just ones defined as a tragedy. Why me? Why us? Why them?

When Obama encouraged us to “listen to each other more carefully,” I was in tears, wishing I had more time to listen to my dad, who left us on April 14, 2009.

Obama definitely focused on the most-important issues when he asked these questions and continued with thoughts on the experience of loss:

“Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices that they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in a while but every single day?

Sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward; to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us.”

I can’t think of more important questions to ask, or reminders about how to turn loss into a better future with our loved ones who are still around.

Then Obama reminded the nation about what is truly important:

“In the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved – and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”

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