If there was any vital message to be gleaned during the most recent Memorial Day weekend, it was to dedicate oneself to living in the moment. We’ve been constantly reminded the last six months that tomorrow isn’t promised.

If there was any vital message to be gleaned during the most recent Memorial Day weekend, it was to dedicate oneself to living in the moment. We’ve been constantly reminded the last six months that tomorrow isn’t promised.

The most glaring reminder occurred in Joplin, where the city’s heart was pounded by Mother Nature’s sledgehammer. Not only did the city endure a vicious tornado, but residents had to recover as storm and after storm pounded our region. Around 150 people died and countless others needed help from caring volunteers and public service agents just to get from under the rubble.

A little more than a week ago the folks in Joplin were living normal lives, likely riding the roller coaster of life. Today folks who have spent a lifetime in Joplin can’t recognize the location in photos displayed by the media.

The troops we kept in our thoughts during Memorial Day likely never imagined they’d be neck deep in the realities of war. One moment you’re going through basic training in hopes of gaining a means to provide for your family or simply to find direction. The next you’re on another tour in Afghanistan or recovering from physical and mental injuries suffered in Iraq. Few if any sane folks imagine being immersed in a situation where they have to killed or be shot to death by a person they’ve never met.

Meanwhile, the goal of using the G.I. Bill for college might as well be next to the dream of winning the lottery.

The vast majority of us have never fought in a war. But the trials of adjusting the household budget in order to purchase gas or putting up with a jerk of a boss at some never-ending job don’t seem to be an equal comparison. If you’re not in the military, there’s a high probability you’re going home at 5 p.m. each weekday. Our troops have no such guarantees.

A year ago my maternal grandmother was happy-go-lucky yet hanging on to her life in hospice care. Doctors had told her they could do nothing more to prolong her 80-plus years. Because of her condition, she couldn’t sit outside with the dog or scoot around in her walker.

As we buried her a week ago today, there were memories of her cooking salmon croquettes and homemade ice cream when we visited her inner city Kansas City home during summer vacation. Images of the weekly ride to Lexington, Mo., to listen to my grandfather preach passed through my consciousness. Today it all seems so fleeting.

It has been said that the passage of time is relentless, and we all have an expiration date. Despite the struggles, be sure to enjoy the moments you have. You never know when they might come to an end.