Columnist: My tribute to their memory | PostIndependent.com

Columnist: My tribute to their memory

Danielle Howard
Staff Photo |

Last Monday, my husband and I spent over three somber hours at the 9/11 memorial in New York. On Wednesday, my 93-year-old aunt who served our country in World War II passed into Eternal Glory. This Memorial Day has fresh, profound meaning, and I wrestle with putting words onto paper. How do I dignify the lives cut short as they went about their daily activities in a country known for the opportunity to pursue happiness? How do I honor those who have given their lives valiantly to protect our freedoms? How do I esteem those who have walked before me, as I benefit from what they arduously created. It is not just a day to remember, but a way of life I aim for. It is about the choices granted me and what I do with them. I appreciate the freedom to share my thoughts in this paper, and I am grateful that you are electing to read them.

With intentional ardor, I will work towards creating a life of meaning above earning a living. Victor Frankle cited, “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” My faith, family, friendships and quest to serve others will be my compass as I seek direction for living a life of purpose.

A entitlement mindset lurks in the shadows of my relatively privileged world, and I will be diligent to keep the light of humility and gratefulness shining brightly to keep it squelched. I will enjoy the fruits of our labor, but not take them for granted.

Generosity will fill my heart. With my time and resources, I will prioritize my day to maximize effectiveness, and embrace the opportunities to share an encouraging word, or a kind gesture. Discerning my material desires, I will seek contentment. I will be disciplined with my needs versus my wants to create margin with what I can share. There is truth in the words of Jon M. Huntsman Sr. “Wealth isn’t always measured in dollar signs. We each have time, talent and creativity, all of which can be powerful forces for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed.”

Looking forward to my next best self, I will strive for excellence in my profession, and integrity in all that I do. I will educate myself about important issues. I will find joy in the small things and watch occasional cat videos for a good belly laugh. I will pursue peace in my relationships and try to minimize waste in our precious world.

Grace will be my mantra. Everyone is on a journey — not mine to judge, but to accept for where they are at. Everyone has a struggle — not mine to shoulder, but to walk alongside them with empathy. Everyone has their dreams — not mine to dictate, but to help unfold and be the enthusiastic cheerleader. I will be kind to myself and others as we have the opportunity to learn and grow from our mistakes.

My head will rest on my pillow at night knowing that the list of “to do’s” will still be there in the morning, but that I have done what I could to live joyfully and intentionally.

This all sounds so noble, but in reality it is a relentless, upward climb, fraught with self-doubt and never-ending obstacles. Each day is a new beginning, and truly, it is the least I can do given what others have endured, and sacrificed for me to be able to pen these words and for you to be able to read them.

Danielle Howard is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ practitioner. Wealth By Design, LLC, her financial life planning office is located in Basalt where they take a personal interest in your financial well-being. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., A Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.


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