Jessica Ghawi, victim in Colorado shooting, reminds us not to take one second of life for granted

The Aurora, Colorado shooting happened at a theatre showing of "Dark Knight Rising," the third Batman movie.  Photo credit:  Slideshow Bruce on Flickr.

Help keep Jessica’s words alive.

I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.

The Aurora, Colorado shooting happened at a theater showing of Dark Knight Rising, the third Batman movie. Photo credit: Slideshow Bruce on Flickr.

Just last month, Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster, wrote these words on her personal blog. She had narrowly escaped being a victim of the Toronto mall shooting, and she was sharing her perspective with her readers. Early this morning, she died in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. With the rest of the world, I mourn Jessica’s death – but I will also choose to celebrate her life.

Already, news outlets are broadcasting Jessica’s wise words. Even though she has left this world, her voice carries on. It is reaching us in this moment of confusion and sorrow. Indeed, every moment that we live, we are blessed. Every moment of each life around us is precious and ought to be valued. As Jessica’s words remind us, let us never take life for granted.

In the Aurora theater this morning, several people – despite their fear – looked out for the lives of others. One survivor, Jennifer Seeger, told TODAY that others warned her that the shooter was about to come back for her.

They said, ‘This guy’s coming back, he’s going to shoot you, he’s going to shoot you,’ she said. ‘So I just ran as an instinct.’

Many of us take a stand for life every day. We spend our free time speaking out for those who are sentenced to death. We stand outside abortion clinics and try to persuade mothers to keep their babies. We start campaigns, give speeches, set up displays at colleges, collect signatures, argue court cases, and counsel mothers in crisis. We try our hardest to rescue “those appointed to die.”

Let us never stop our efforts, but let us also remember to value the lives of the family and friends around us. Let us not forget how precious these lives are. Let us not lose the preciousness of our baby’s smile or the sticky fingers that wrap around our necks after breakfast. Let us not lose the moments of easy conversation and the fleeting family time that we have today. We may not have them tomorrow.

With all that is in us, let us fight for life. Let us protect every life. But let us also, with all that is in us, love the life all around us. Let us open our eyes and see the blessings in front of us. Tragedies like this horrific shooting in my home state remind us all to keep those around us just a little closer. As a mother, I know I’ll join President Obama in hugging my daughter a little tighter today.

Pray for the victims, the families, the medical and emergency personnel, and the shooter involved in today’s tragedy. Keep fighting to protect and value every life – those in the womb and those in front of our eyes. And help keep Jessica’s words alive…

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