I am an Aggie.  In Texas this is a big deal. Honestly, it’s a big deal around the world, but in Texas it’s a really big deal…to Aggies.  Texas A&M is full of tradition and symbolism.  It is one of the many reasons I’m proud to be an Aggie. I wear my Aggie ring daily because it connects me to strangers often.  Every once in while, I still get into a good Aggie football game.  But one of the traditions that still sets my heart proud year after year is Muster.  Aggie Muster is a tradition when Aggies come together on April 21 all over the world, and wherever two or more Aggies are, they remember the fallen Aggies, specifically from the past year.  You are in a room with all your comrades and when a name is called from someone that you knew, you answer “here.”

Softly call the Muster, Let comrade answer, “here”….

Dr. John Ashton, 1946, Class of 1906

I have had the privilege to answer “here” many times for fellow Aggies.  The most important “here” was for my grandmother years ago.  But one of the most significant parts of Muster is how many people say “here” at the same time.  Maybe it sounds weird to some, but it is incredible to honor and recognize someone’s presence HERE.  We carry people with us, and they are here even when they are gone.  We affect others. Being HERE matters, now.  Being here now means you may be part of someone else’s here later.

For the last decade or longer, I have wrestled with HERE.  A lot happens here.  And a lot more happens when you are really here.  And then there’s the hereafter.  What about that?

The hereafter, eternity, Heaven, the New Earth…it’s real.  It’s coming. It’s now, in part.  But it’s real.

But we’re here.  Our lives are not a mistake.  We were meant to be here.  Being here is part of the hereafter.  You have to be here, first.

And being here is hard…messy…sad sometimes. It’s also beautiful…inspiring…breathtaking sometimes. And there’s more.

I’ve gone from wondering how eternity could really be better, to knowing that it is better, to wanting to be there now, to realizing that the here right now matters. It’s not only necessary, it’s predestined.

So I’m here and you’re here. So let’s really, really be here {for now}.

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