Can I just ruin a movie for you? Thanks!
Ladder 49 was a good movie, a human movie centering around an unfortunate occurrence. While saving a man’s life, a fireman loses his own. This trading of life is traced back (in flashback fashion) to the beginning of our hero’s firefighting career, through his years as a husband and father, often risking his life, always loving his family and friends. Yet in the end he dies as, inevitably, we all do. But this man’s death was not a tragedy. It was the punctuation in exclamation of a life lived in victory.
The measure of a man is not determined by the last thing he does, be it courageous or cowardly. He shows what he’s made of every day.
What if, on our dying day, we did something we would have regretted for the rest of our lives? What then? Is the bulk of our lives negated? Certainly not. Though I agree there is something to be said about a moment in time, we all know that it is the context of a thing that gives it meaning. We can be proud of our past accomplishments even in our present shortcomings. We can anticipate future victories, as well as defeats. But it is the routine and the habit that reveal our character and define us.
In fact, there are times in our lives when we do or say things that are regrettable. Even more telling than that is what we do directly after. We are not defined by our mistakes, but by how, or if, we remedy them.
I will say this, though. Every present action, whatever we are doing at this moment, anything we do at any given moment, is the punctuation to all things before.
Does what you are doing right now serve as an exclamation point on your life, emphasizing even more what you believe and what you live for? (!)
Are you now in the middle of making a statement with your life, being assertive and definitive? (.)
Or are you now actively contradicting yourself or casting doubt on who you have previously seemed to be, or maybe questioning who you have been and endeavoring to make a change? (?)
Though no moment defines us, each moment is a clue to who we are.