Thursday, October 18, 2007


Part of the daily routine in our home is the pushing of the “play” button on the answering machine upon arriving home in the evening. We enter, push the button and listen while removing coats or unloading our daily baggage. Most often, we reach over and hit delete for the telemarketers and political ads. Then there are those rare occasions when we stop mid jacket removal and stand still to listen, paying attention to every word, only to hit the play button again to be sure of what we just heard.

Yesterday was just such a day. As the message plays, we both stop mid-action. A call from a relative with bad news of the life altering kind flows out by voice messaging. We play it twice to be sure we have heard correctly. Our evening is then filled with phone calls and getting the details. Cancer is the message. We begin to process the ramifications of what this bad news means for our loved one.

Our mortality, something we choose to put to the back of our minds, accosts us full force. We must face the truth that we all will travel our own path to our ultimate end. As the evening unfolds, we must discuss other topics to make arrangements and plans as all families do each day. This night, we realize, some items on the list now seem less important than they did previously. Other items move closer to the top of the list. Our discussion turns to what is important to us. Which item should we continue with, which make our life feel fuller, what will we regret not having done should we receive such news for ourselves tomorrow.

Are you trudging through life? Is what you are doing have impact? Are you paying attention to the ones you love? How would you feel if certain aspects of your life disappeared tomorrow? What makes you angry that would seem inconsequential if your life ended today? Unfortunately, we only think seriously about these matters when faced with mortality first hand. I suggest you arrange your daily checklist by what matters most.

Time is not a commodity to be trusted. We are not guaranteed any number of days or hours. There are those who express time in terms of “wasted” or “fleeting”. While others never seem to have enough, or spend their current time with worry over future or past time. Some people “take” time or “spend” time. All we are really blessed with are moments. If fortunate, we may be able to link the moments into the days of our life. Make what you do with your moments count.

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