Following the recent passing of my father much has been swirling around in my mind. I’ve attempted several blog posts in an effort to share with you some of the things I’ve learned in the past few weeks and it is only now that I can sit and put it into words…or at least try again.
One of my favorite poetry books is Without by Donald Hall who, after surviving his own battle with colon cancer, learned his wife Jane was diagnosed with leukemia. The poetry in Without details different aspects of his wife’s 15-month battle up until her final moment. The book isn’t a favorite because it details this struggle, but because it puts into words the human existence at both its strongest and weakest and it reminds me of how fragile life really is. (source: The Poetry Foundation)
Watching a loved one pass away is one of life’s greatest challenges. There are few things that can be said to bring comfort and each person must process in his or her own way. Part of that process for me has been thinking of all I can take for granted in a single day here on Earth. Instead of asking what I could’ve done differently to save a life, I’ve found myself asking what I can do differently to live mine more fully.
When our time comes to an end and family members go through our belongings, will those things be just items to toss away or will they evoke beautiful memories…memories of happiness and fun? Will there be “things” at all or will we have lived with little, but given much?
Entering the field of professional counseling, I knew I was being called to do something great. I knew that there would be many lessons I’d learn from my clients, from their stories, and from my interactions with them. But my hope is that they learn from me as well. I hope that I listen with an open mind and offer perspective to aid them in moving forward. To me, these moments mean more than anything I could purchase in a store on Black Friday (or any other day for that matter). Apart from my profession, I hope I can live a life that isn’t full of useless “things,” but of compassion, love, generosity, care, and much more.
We so often hear the phrases “life is too short,” “you only live once,” and “live today like it’s your last” but do we truly take these phrases in and begin appreciating each moment we’re given? For some the answer is “no,” myself included at times. Maybe you’re in good health or engaging in low-risk activities, and you assume you don’t have a need to seize the day. However, the point is bigger than that…why not seriously live life to the fullest each and every moment of each and every day regardless of current health status? Why not look more at the things we have rather than the things we don’t? Why not reach out a hand to help someone in need? Why not take time to listen and pray for others? Why not? What have we got to lose?
My hope is that we can examine our lives and make changes before it’s too late. Don’t save it for later. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do or say today. Don’t wait until you lose a loved one to decide that you’ll go that extra mile to bring a smile to someone’s face. Instead, ask yourself, “How can I live my life more fully today?”