The flip of a coin works as a decision-making device not because of the effect it has on destiny, or fate, or luck — but because in those moments when the coin is spinning in the air, we realize that our opportunity to choose is about to be taken away, and suddenly, we realize what we truly want.
Sometimes the greatest gift others can give us is the example of their choices. Last week we observed the anniversary of a day when a great many people died senseless, needless deaths — but in their last moments, those people made a tragedy into something with deep meaning because of their choices, and the example they gave to the rest of us.
Some of them died suddenly, with no time to reach out. But many of them, realizing what was about to happen, and that their choices were about to be taken away forever, did reach out — and none of them called their brokers to check the stock market. No one called to find out if their book made the bestseller list. No one used those last moments of life to negotiate contracts, or to conduct more business, or to make money.
Instead, they called and texted the people they loved, to make sure that they knew it. That’s all.
Some, realizing what was happening, made those most important, most precious calls and texts, and then chose, with their last moments, to try to do something heroic, something worthy, something good — possibly knowing it would be their last choice, ever — and took deliberate action to save the lives of others, and very likely did exactly that: “Let’s roll!”
We are each gifted with this one precious life. And when that gift was about to be taken away from those people on September 11, 2001, they showed us, by example, what truly mattered most. They defied the acts of terrorism and fear with expressions of love and selfless action. And they showed us a great truth:
The coin is still in the air; it is still spinning.
While we are alive, the coin is always spinning.
And while it is, we have the ability to choose to spend that precious, irreplaceable time we have been given to reaffirm, again and again, what matters most: we are here to express gratitude for our lives, to extend forgiveness to ourselves and those around us, to love unconditionally, and to help others up when they have stumbled.
All the rest, everything we think is important about our day to day existence, is simply decoration.
The coin is still spinning. You still have time. This moment may be all that you have. And how you choose to spend your moments is how you live your life. That’s it.