Things Change In The Face Of Disaster

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It's stunning how quickly life can change the moment a handful of fanatics choose to act on their warped beliefs.

Everything changes. Your worries. Your priorities. The importance of one day meeting your grandchildren. The importance of one day meeting your great-grandchildren.

The way you look at yourself. The way your children look at you. The way all of you look at the world. The television programs and news stories and general topics of the hour we think are worth debating over the water cooler at work.

Gary Condit. Remember him? Exactly two weeks and one day ago, the California congressman had just come off his monumentally pitiable showing opposite TV interviewer Connie Chung regarding his role in the disappearance of his alleged mistress, intern Chandra Levy and the world, it seemed, could not stop its obsessive wondering if he was a) guilty, or b) guilty as sin.

Until Sept. 11, anyway. Today his name barely rings a bell.

Exactly two weeks and one day ago, none but the perpetually white-knuckled gave a second thought to air travel, and the major airlines were enjoying record profits. Saturday, Phoenix Sky Harbor airport was nearly a ghost town.

Talk to anyone who had a dime tied up on Wall Street exactly two weeks and one day ago, and ... well, you won't get a response, because their stomachs are still in their throats following the hairiest roller-coaster ride since the Depression.

But not all the changes have to be forced upon us by disaster. We can make changes of our own. We can, for example, vow to never again go to bed without thanking God for our children and spouses and friends, for all we have and all we will have.

Things change. But the best changes are entirely up to us.

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