What a terrible scene we witnessed last month as millions, from around the world, watched the Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames. Fire fighters, rescue workers, religious leaders, and local citizens sprang into action (to the degree that they could) to save the Cathedral. There is one report of a priest racing into the church to save relics and priceless paintings and treasures. Though, at that time, the cause of the fire was unknown; what was clearly known was that a part of history was "going up in flames" and that every reasonable effort should be made to save it. This scene caused me to ask myself some important questions: What is it that I value most? What is it that I would be willing to make heroic efforts to save from danger?
For me, the answer to the question: "What do you value most?" is an easy one. There are many things that I have done in my life (some would describe these as "accomplishments") that I don't really see as significant achievements. Though some of these would be considered "life highlights." they are certainly not the things that I value most. As I reflect on my life, there are many things I wish I could change (choices, attitudes, behaviors, the way, at times, I've treated others). But there are two things that I would never change: my family and my friends. These are indeed the things that I value most and these relationships are ones that I would do almost anything to preserve.
I have been blessed with wonderful parents, a loving wife, supportive in-laws, caring aunts, uncles, and cousins, and remarkable children and grand-children. Further, I have had some of the most wonderful friends a person could ask for. With my family and friends alone I can say that my life has been truly blessed. These are the very things (the people) that I value above all else.
With Mother's Day having just passed, and Memorial Day standing before us, perhaps it is a good time to ask ourselves, "What (or Who) do I value most?" Hopefully our life will never have to be set "ablaze" in order for us to realize the priceless treasures that we posses..
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.