Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life Is A Gift...Unwrap It.

Photography by Maxie


     How quickly our lives can change.  We take so much for granted ... our comfortable day-to-day routine, our family, friends, neighbors, sunrises, sunsets, the air we breathe, and the communities in which we live... all the things that give us meaning in our lives.  Sound trite?  It's often only when we face a tragedy that we are reminded of our frailty as human beings and realize what really matters.

     How many people do you know who never seem to enjoy life, what they have or what they do?  They complain about how hard they work, wishing they could be doing something else.  They are always saying "someday" they will do things they really would like to do, but they never get around to it.

     "Someday" they want to retire and spend time with their family; "someday" they are going to take a vacation with their family; "someday" they are going to take care of their health and lose weight and use the treadmill that still needs to be assembled; "someday" they want to volunteer at their kid's grade school; and on and on.

     If that day ever arrives, some find that the big family home they built is empty; junior is now 25 and has been living out of the house for the past five years; arthritis has set in; there are heart problems; travel is limited; father passed away without their visiting him for two years; and their elementary school daughter is now in high school and doesn't want them there.

     They have climbed the "mountain to success,"  30 pounds overweight, working 16 hours a day, stressed out, not sleeping, self-medicating, with high blood pressure.  They get to the top, if they are still alive, but they find no one there.  They are alone, and they are lonely.

     Some are lucky enough to take stock of what is important early in their lives.  They realize that the real things are not things.  However, some never do, even when faced with a tragedy in their lives.  Some will see this as an end of their lives, complain about their losses and ask, "Why me?" and wait for things to happen to them.

     Then there are those who see "the hidden gift" when tragedy strikes.  They see it as a second chance to take stock of the real things that are important in life.  They rediscover that which they took for granted and begin relishing every moment as though it is their last, because, in fact, it could be just that.

     They hug their children more, in awe of the beauty within them, and the joy they bring to their lives.  They are more aware and appreciative of their senses ... smells, sounds and the touch of their loved ones.  They find that one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is your time.  They are grateful that they are part of something beyond themselves, which gives greater meaning to their lives.

     Those who have learned the "hidden gift" in tragedy see those who are waiting for the "someday" when they can enjoy the gift of life, without the tragedy.  They wish they could tell them to take time to appreciate what they have now because there may not be a "someday."  There is only today.

     There is the urge to tell them to hug their kids more, celebrate the morning and evening clouds, enjoy the wonder of Mother Nature's different seasons; allow themselves to be vulnerable and have faith.  Or, maybe they resist the urge and let them discover, or not, the meaning of life on their own.

     In the end, we realize that living is about what we learned to value, and that being a part of something is more important than trying to be somebody.  It is not about material things, rather how we share, love and look after each other in the short time we are on this earth.


Author Unknown



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